Business & Real Estate

California new-car sales continue hot pace in this year’s first quarter

California’s post-recession car sales boom just keeps rolling along.

New-vehicle registrations in this year’s first quarter totaled 477,657, up 12.1 percent from 426,265 in the opening quarter of 2014, according figures released Friday by the Sacramento-based California New Car Dealers Association.

CNCDA projected that calendar new-vehicle registrations, including fleet sales, will exceed 1.9 million units in 2015 and possibly reach 2 million by year’s end.

The all-time statewide record of 2.15 million new car sales was set in 2005.

Brian Maas, CNCDA president, noted that the first-quarter numbers represented the18th consecutive quarterly improvement, and the Golden State’s double-digit year-over-year growth far exceeded the national annual gain of 2.9 percent.

“The majority of vehicle sales were retail transactions, which increased 104 percent during the first three months of 2015 versus 2010, while fleet sales only account for 14 percent of new registrations,” Maas added.

In 2014, statewide new-vehicle sales totaled 1.84 million, up 8 percent over 2013. In 2009, during the depths of the recession and amid a flurry of California dealership closures, statewide new car sales totaled only 1.03 million, the lowest volume since 1975.

Through three months this year, the Honda Civic passenger car was the state’s best-selling model, with 16,233 units sold. That was slightly better than the Toyota’s Corolla, with 16,041 registrations. Toyota’s Camry and Prius models also sold well with 15,062 and 15,044 registrations, respectively.

Japanese brands continue to dominate Golden State new-vehicle sales with more than 40 percent of the market share. Toyota leads the pack at 21.2 percent, Honda is second at 12.2 percent and Nissan is fourth at 9.7 percent. American automakers Ford and General Motors accounted for 10.1 percent and 9.2 percent, respectively.