SACRAMENTO, CA – The California new vehicle market is off to a solid start for 2018, according to the California New Car Dealers Association. While market conditions continue to shift on both the state and national level alike, 2018 California vehicle sales are still projected to be above two million units for the fourth straight year in a row.
According to the association’s first-quarter outlook, market share for non-luxury SUV’s continues to grow, approaching 30%, while market share for small car sales decreased from 27% to 24% since last year.
“While the vehicle market has plateaued after several years of big increases, we continue to see the trend of consumer demand increasing for larger, more family-friendly vehicles. Consumers want more convenient vehicles to meet their transportation needs,” said California New Car Dealers Association Chairperson Taz Harvey of Dublin Mazda. “However, as gas prices continue to go up nationwide, including in California, we may see a shift in this trend.”
Light truck registrations and passenger cars have also experienced a shift in sales. Light truck sales have increased 3.7% statewide from 2017, while passenger car sales have seen a significant decrease of 11.2% from last year. This trend is reflected in both the northern and southern regions of the state, with Northern California increasing by 1.5% in light truck sales and decreasing by 12.8% in passenger cars sales and Southern California increasing by 4.5% in light truck sales and decreasing by 13.4% in passenger car sales.
Additionally, electric and plug-in vehicle sales showed a slight increase in the first quarter, accounting for 9.6% of sales. This is a minimal 0.2% increase from last year.
Sales increased by more than 10% for 7 brands, with Toyota being the market leader and the Honda Civic coming in as the best-selling model in California during the first quarter of 2018.