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CNCDA: California New-Vehicle Sales Cool in 2016

March 9, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California new-vehicle market leveled off in 2016, with new light vehicle registrations increasing by less than 2% during the final three quarters of last year, according to the California New Cars Dealers Association (CNCDA).

Including both retail and fleet sales, California new-vehicle registrations increased 1.6% from 2015 to 2.086 million units, with car sales leading the way with a 57.7% share of the market last year. The share of light truck sales, however, grew 4.6% to 46.9%.

“It’s becoming evident that the robust growth that occurred between 2010 and 2016 is coming to an end,” the association noted in its monthly California Auto Outlook newsletter. “Between 2010 and 2016, the state’s new-vehicle market improved for seven consecutive years and doubled in size, with new-vehicle registrations increasing from 1.04 million units in 2009 to 2.09 million in 2016.”

The slow growth pattern in 2016 was expected and was evidence that the new-vehicle marked was stabilizing, the CNCDA noted. New-vehicle registrations in the state should remain right around the two million-unit mark this year, which is strong on a historical basis, the CNCDA added.

Retail new-vehicle registrations in 2016 were up 1.8% from a year prior, while fleet registrations were up marginally. Retail car registrations declined 7% from the year prior, while light trucks surged 13.9%.

Additionally, new-vehicle registrations in Southern California were up 2.1% from 2015, while Northern California registrations were up 1.6%.

The states used-vehicle market was basically flat last year, the association noted, with registrations declining by less than 1% to 3.53%. The association’s data also showed that the gap between the state’s new and six-year-old used-vehicle markets widened toward the end of 2016.

Additionally, registrations for vehicles in the four- to six-year-old category increased 8.1% in 2016. The seven- to 10-year-old market fell 15.1%, according to the association.

“Toyota was the used-vehicle market share leader in 2016,” the CNCDA stated in its report, adding that Honda’s share in the two-year-old or newer market was 6.6% compared to 10.7% for three- to five-year-old vehicles.

“Honda Civic was the top seller in the state used-vehicle market (only includes vehicles six years older or newer),” the associated stated. “Civic was also the best-selling new vehicle.”

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