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California vehicle sales exceed 2 million for third straight year

Rob Nikolewski, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Automotive News

Among three selected regional markets, San Diego County experienced the biggest drop in car sales -- down 13.2 percent -- while light truck registrations were up 7.1 percent for the year.

Even the San Francisco area saw a 9.2 percent increase in pickup trucks and SUVs and a 5.8 percent drop in car registrations.

Los Angeles/Orange County experienced a 12.2 percent drop in sales of cars and a 7.3 percent bump in light trucks.

The market for alternative vehicles experienced a solid 2017. The market share for electric, plug-in hybrids and hybrid vehicles in 2017 reached 9.4 percent.

Chevrolet in 2017 rolled out the Bolt, an electric vehicle (EV) boasting a range of 238 miles between charges and a price tag -- after federal and state incentives -- of about $30,000.

Dealers sold or leased 13,487 Bolts last year, making it the top-selling sub-compact in the CNCDA report.

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"I think more significant is the broader market for EVs is maturing," Maas said. "Many more manufacturers than even a year ago have some kind of plug-in or EV product in the space. If you're interested in those types of vehicles you have a lot more choice than you did before."

Tesla is not a member of the CNCDA but the electric car maker was included in the quarterly report detailing sales figures by brand. Telsa recorded a 36.1 percent increase in the fourth quarter of last year compared to 2016.

That number may grow in 2018, considering that Tesla is beginning to deliver -- albeit with some delays -- its Model 3, which has a stripped-down price of $35,000 and is aimed at attracting middle-class buyers.

About 13,000 more electric vehicles were sold in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the final three months of 2016. That's a healthy increase but to put things in perspective, the best selling full-size pickup truck in the state -- the Ford F Series -- outsold all EVs combined in 2017 (55,249 units to 53,549).


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