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California used vehicle market growth has potential upside for independent bays

As new vehicle sales decline, registrations for 6-year-old or newer vehicles are up 5 percent this year

Sacramento, Calif.—As the California new vehicle market continues to experience mild declines, California’s electric vehicle market share is experiencing continued growth along with the used vehicle sector. As predicted, new vehicle sales are falling and are expected to slip to 1.9 million units in 2019, according to the California Auto Outlook Third Quarter 2019.

“California new car sales continue to shift downward. However, as this happens, we continue to see new upward trends emerging, specifically the growth in the electric vehicle segment, the slight but steady increase in used car sales and the increase in demand for larger vehicles,” said California New Car Dealers Association Chairperson Ted Nicholas, of 3 Way Chevrolet Cadillac in Bakersfield. “These changes don’t necessarily mean consumers are purchasing fewer vehicles, it’s just an indication that their purchasing behavior is changing, and we need to continue to adapt to those changes.”

While year-to-date overall new light duty vehicle registrations have dropped 5.1 percent in California and 0.7 percent nationally, electric and hybrid sales have reached an all-time high of 13.4 percent combined market share for the first nine months of 2019. The overall market share makeup includes 5.5 percent electric, 5.5 percent hybrid and 2.4 percent plug-in hybrid.

The used vehicle market for the first three-quarters of 2019 remains solid, increasing by about 1 percent, with used light truck sales driving the increase at 3.8 percent while passenger car sales are down 1.4 percent from this time last year.

Regional sales continue to stay on trend with state and national sales. Northern California experienced an overall 5.6 percent decline in new vehicle sales, with an 8.8 percent decrease in passenger car sales and a decrease in light truck sales by 3.3 percent. Southern California experienced slightly less of a decline with a 5.3 percent overall decrease, including passenger car sales falling by 10.8 percent and light truck sales dropping just 0.4 percent.

Toyota and Honda continue to lead the way as market share leaders in the state, with Ford, Chevrolet and Nissan coming in next as the most popular brands in California. The Honda Civic continues to stay on top as California’s best-selling passenger car and the Ford F-Series comes in as the best-selling light truck.

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