Business & Real Estate

California new car sales stay on track to top 2 million in 2016

John W. Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., poses with the Honda Civic, winner of the North American Car of the Year award in Detroit, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.
John W. Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., poses with the Honda Civic, winner of the North American Car of the Year award in Detroit, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. AP

California auto dealers are on track to post another solid year, with a projected 2.08 million new car registrations coming close to the all-time record of 2.15 million set in 2005, according to the third-quarter 2016 report released by the Sacramento-based California New Car Dealers Association.

The CNCDA said statewide new light-vehicle registrations through September this year totaled 1.57 million, up nearly 2 percent from the year-ago total of 1.54 million.

Registrations for all of 2015 totaled 2.05 million, the first time the 2 million threshold was reached since 2006.

During the depths of the recession, in 2009, statewide registrations totaled only 1.04 million.

In its latest quarterly report, the CNCDA said it expects sales to remain at or near historically high levels for the next several years. It said long-term market strength will be maintained by a likely continuation of low interest rates, increasing personal incomes, attractive incentive offers from dealers/automakers and overall improvements in new vehicles.

“Provided the regulatory environment in California remains stable, we should expect several more years of continued strength in new car and truck sales in the Golden State,” said CNCDA Chairman Dennis Hardin, who oversees Hardin Honda in Anaheim.

The CNCDA report noted that the gas-electric hybrid vehicle market share continued its decline from a high of 6.8 percent in 2013 to 4.7 percent through three quarters this year. Analysts have cited fuel mileage improvements in automakers’ internal combustion, four-cylinder engines. Vehicles with traditional four-cylinder engines are generally less expensive than hybrid models.

The report said statewide electric and plug-in hybrid market share grew slightly through the third quarter this year to a combined 3.3 percent, up from 3.1 percent in the year-ago period.

The Honda Civic was the top seller through September of this year, with 67,593 units sold. Honda’s Accord was second, with 56,014 registrations, followed by the Toyota Corolla, with 51,033. Toyota remains the market leader statewide, with a 20.2 percent share; Honda is second at 13.6 percent.

The Ford F-Series, with 36,966 registrations, is the top-selling pickup, followed by the Chevrolet Silverado (30,426). The top-selling sport-utility vehicle in the state through September is the Toyota RAV4, with its 30,792 registrations just edging the historically popular Honda CR-V’s 29,775.

More information can be found at cncda.org.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover

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