SACRAMENTO — New light vehicle registrations in California exceeded 500,000 units in the first quarter of 2016, a 3.8% improvement from the year-ago period, according to the California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA).

The feat marks 22 consecutive year-over-year increases in quarterly registration, the association said. It noted that California new-car dealers are on pace to sell more than two million units this year.

“California new-car dealers continue to be the engine driving our economic recovery — plain and simple,” said CNCDA Chairman Dennis Hardin of Hardin Honda in Anaheim. “And with the number of sales incentives, low fuel prices and low interest rates, we expect the trend to continue upward.”

New light truck registrations continued to prosper in the first quarter, increasing by 12.9% over the same time last year. The Ford F-Series led the way in the light-truck category, while the Honda Civic holds the crown for new-car sales in California.

The uptick in vehicle registrations hasn't been limited to just new cars, the CNCDA said. Registrations for vehicles six years old or newer were up more than 20% in the first quarter. The Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, and Toyota Corolla held the Top Three spots for best-selling used cars in the state.

The associated said there is still room for more growth, although it believes that growth will be minimal. It noted that the industry has seen explosive growth over the last six years, but said trends seem to indicate that that growth will be shrinking.

In 2015’s opening quarter, new light vehicle registration increased 13.6% over the first quarter of 2014, exceeding the increase realized in the first quarter of 2016.

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