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California new vehicle sales show signs of recovery despite wildfires’ impact

Market to approach 1.9 million units in 2021, an increase of 12 percent from this year, and other key takeaways from Wednesday’s third-quarter California Auto Outlook report

Sacramento, Calif.—The California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA) released its Auto Outlook: 2020 Q3 report on Wednesday that notes the state’s new vehicle sales are on the rebound for next year. Below are a few additional key takeaways from the report:

• Wildfires and a slowly recovering labor market contributed to the nearly 20 percent decline in the third quarter. However, the market could post a small increase in the fourth quarter.

• New vehicle registrations in California are expected to decline to 1.67 million units in 2020, down 20 percent from last year.

• Latest projections are for the market to approach 1.9 million units in 2021, an increase of 12 percent percent from this year.

• Used vehicle market outperforms new vehicle market during 2020

• Honda Civic and Toyota RAV4 are top sellers in California.

• Toyota, Honda, and Ford are top-three selling brands in the state.

• Toyota, Honda, Ford, Chevrolet, and Nissan were market share leaders in California.

• Accumulating pent up demand and low interest rates will support the market next year, while expected slow improvement in employment should prevent a sharp rebound.

• California new light vehicle market declined 24.6 percent during the first nine months of this year versus a year earlier. The U.S. market fell 18.4 percent.

• Retail vehicle sales in the state have held up better in 2020. New retail registrations fell 19.5 so far this year.

• Light truck registrations in the state declined 17.3 percent versus the 34.4 percent drop for passenger cars.

• Hybrid and electric vehicle market share have moved higher during 2020 (market share – YTD ‘20 thru September:14.3 percent).

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