Insurance Journal

The first quarter of the year saw the sixth straight quarterly increase (.7%) in overall registrations in California in the first quarter from the same period last year, while the state’s love affair with Tesla’s may be getting old, the California New Car Dealers Association reported today.

The CNCDA released its California Auto Outlook covering Q1 2024. The report summarizes quarterly new vehicle registration figures statewide and predicts overall 2024 sales. Experian Automotive provides data for CNCDA’s Auto Outlook.

California saw 431,638 new sales, well below the nation’s 9.6% improvement. The group said the weaker results in California are partially attributed to relatively strong sales in the first quarter of 2023.

Tesla registrations were down again in California year-to-date, with a 7.8% dip. The previous quarter posted a 9.8% decline. Toyota showed significant gains among the top three California shareholder brands, increasing to 16.6%, while Honda captured 10.5% of the market, according to the report.

Tesla’s fall comes as more traditional manufacturers are offering new plug-in hybrid (PHEV), hybrid, and battery electric vehicle (BEV) models. Sales of BEVs by traditional franchised dealerships have surged by 14% percent while direct sellers saw a three-point drop compared to last year’s figures.

Combined sales of BEVs, PHEVs, hybrids, and fuel cell vehicles in The Golden State accounted for 37.5 percent of the market share last quarter (up from just 11.6% in 2018). Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles (gas and diesel) accounted for 62.5 percent of registrations, dipping about 1.4 points from the end of 2023.

California continues to lead in BEV registrations, posting 32.5 percent of sales nationwide. The U.S. market share of BEV vehicles is far less substantial, posting 7.4% in Q1 2024.

California’s pace of improvement in overall registrations is expected to ease in 2024 compared to last year. While registrations are predicted to exceed 1.8 million units, the increase will likely remain in the single digits, according to the CNCDA.

The top three passenger cars sold in California were the Toyota Camry, the Honda Civic, and the Tesla Model 3. The top three light trucks were the Tesla Model Y, the Toyota RAV4, and the Honda CR-V.

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