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Auto Sales Sputter But Trucks Are Picking Up

August 31,2017

New vehicle sales in California were down 4.4 percent in the second quarter of 2017 vs the same quarter last year says the California New Car Dealer Association. On year-to-date basis, registrations were down 2 percent in the state and 2.1% lower nationwide.

Locally, sales were down 7 percent through July in Tulare and Kings County according to an industry report says local dealer Don Groppetti.  “It’s not that things are so bad” says Groppetti, pointing to the fact that  “we have had 4 to 5 years of record gains as a comparison.”

Still, there it a noticeable trend in the industry both here and statewide – sedan car sales are down and truck sales continue to zoom higher.

In California car sales are off 10.8 percent through June while truck sales are 8.8 percent higher.

Here too, it is not a clear trend observes Groppetti.

Trucks Outsell Cars

Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 8.22.07 AM“In the industry they count RAV4 and CRV utility vehicles as trucks” as the line between the two classes of vehicles has become blurred. There are lot more choices and vehicle of every stripe and kind – “much more than 5 years ago”

Small SUVs are selling more in a category seen as trucks.

Still, by category this is the first time in California, often seen as a trend setter, that consumers bought more vehicles categorized as trucks than cars – 448,000 units vs 438,000 cars.

Pictured: Small SUVs… cars or trucks?

The California Association says while there are signs that demand for light vehicles is leveling off, we should continue to enjoy sales of 2 million vehicles this year. Sales have been rising in the the Golden State since 2009 when we bought just 1.04 million vehicles.

Statewide, hybrid and electric vehicles market share continues to increase in 2017 with pure electric share growing from 1.3% in 2013 to 2.5% this year.

This year so far,Subaru showed the largest sales gain by brand, up over 10%. By contrast KIA, Nissan, BMW and Lexus were down over 10%.

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