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Report Shows California’s 2023 Auto Registrations Highest Since 2020, with an 11.9% Increase in New Vehicles *Centurion Insurance AFS*

Feb 01, 2024 (0) comment , , , , , , , , , ,

Last year proved to be a banner year for new car registrations in California, reaching the highest numbers since the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report out this week shows.

The California New Car Dealers Association’s fourth quarter 2023 California Auto Outlook report shows 1.78 million sales reported in 2023, higher than the 1.76 million predicted by the publication last year. Year over year, the state’s 2023 new vehicle registrations posted an 11.9% increase compared with 2022 figures.

The report summarizes vehicle registration and sales data for 2023, and estimates projected 2024 sales in California’s vehicle market. The group’s data is sourced from Experian Automotive.

The top three passenger cars sold in California in 2023 were the Tesla Model 3, the Toyota Camry and the Honda Civic. The top three light trucks sold for the year were the Tesla Model Y, the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V. Toyota was the top-selling brand in California again in 2023.

Predictions for 2024 include another increase in new vehicle registrations by 3.2%, approaching 1.83 million units sold. This is due to the state’s demand for new cars, a strong labor market, and a positive economic outlook statewide, according to the group.

The estimates could be impacted by the 2024 presidential election, and geopolitical tensions, however, should federal interest rates level out, auto sales in California are poised to post a more significant increase than predicted, the report states.

This was the fifth consecutive quarterly increase in new car sales in the state. The Q4 2023 pace of new car sales showed a slight acceleration compared with Q3, posting a 6% increase. The 2023 final registration numbers exceeded 426,000 units, 24,000 units higher than reported in Q4 2022, the report shows.

Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEV), non-plug-in hybrid, and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) sales declined in Q4 2023 from the previous quarter, closing the year at 21.4%. Alternatively, the state’s non-plug-in hybrid vehicles jumped to their highest numbers, at 11.1% sold in 2023. California’s total new BEV market share sales rose by 5% compared with 2022, according to the report.

Internal combustion powered vehicles accounted for 63.9% of the state’s new vehicle sales share in 2023, losing roughly 7.7 points from 2022 numbers. In 2023, combined sales of BEVs, PHEVs, hybrids, and fuel cell vehicles in the state accounted for 35.9% of the market share compared with 11.6% in 2018.

California leads the nation in BEV registrations, posting 33.8% of all sales nationwide, the report shows.

California’s top three selling BEV and PHEV models were the Tesla Model Y, Tesla Model 3, and the Chevy Bolt. The Jeep Wrangler captured fourth place and remained the best-selling PHEV in 2023.

While Tesla remained California’s BEV market share leader, sales showed saw a 10.5% loss in market share year-to-date. Mercedes and BMW showed the highest increase in BEV sales in the state, reporting 2.2% and 2.8%.

Northern Californians remained the state’s biggest adopters of BEVs, with 25.6% of the state’s BEV market share, while Southern CA sales reported 21.3% of registrations, the report shows.


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