Business & Real Estate

California auto dealers had another strong year in 2017. Here are the best-sellers

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 held serve in 2017, ringing up another strong year even amid expectations of a red-hot car sales market cooling off.

The Sacramento-based California New Car Dealers Association said Friday that there were about 2.05 million new-car registrations last year, nearly matching 2.09 million in 2016 and falling short of the all-time record of 2.15 million set in 2005.

The 2017 total equaled 2.05 million reported in 2015, which was the first time the 2 million threshold had been reached since 2006. During the depths of the recession, in 2009, statewide registrations totaled only 1.04 million. For 2018, the CNCDA is projecting 2.01 million registrations.

CNCDA officials noted the continued popularity of crossover sport-utility vehicles among Golden State consumers.

“Trends show that consumer demand for luxury and compact SUVs continues to increase, resulting in manufacturers producing more vehicle choices in this space to meet the needs of buyers. This is clearly reflected in the market share segment shifts we’ve seen over the past five years,” said CNCDA Chair Taz Harvey of Dublin Mazda.

The association also noted that statewide market share for electric, plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles accounted for nearly 10 percent of new-car registrations last year.

The Honda Civic retained its title as the best-selling new vehicle in California, with 94,525 registrations last year. Honda’s Accord came in second, with 72,037 registrations.

The Ford F-Series truck led the full-size pickup segment. Its 55,249 registrations outpaced the Chevrolet Silverado’s 42,724. Among all sport-utility vehicles, Toyota RAV4’s had a state-leading 51,054 registrations to top the Honda CR-V, which had 42,449.

Toyota remained the state’s leader in market share in 2017, capturing 17.2 percent of all new-vehicle registrations, which included fleet transactions. However, that was down from a 20.1 percent share in 2016.

Honda was second with a 13.1 percent statewide share. U.S. automaker Ford was third at 9.4 percent.

Increases to California's gas tax were approved in 2017 and will continue for years.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover

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