Prius once again tops California new car market

mglover@sacbee.comAugust 20, 2013 

California new-car sales continued to hum along in the first half of the year, with the Toyota Prius leading the way.

In the latest quarterly report from the Sacramento-based California New Car Dealers Association, new motor vehicle sales totaled 850,712 in the first half of this year, a 12.5 percent increase over 756,324 in the year-ago period. The association said domestic-brand registrations spiked 19.3 percent in the first six months of 2013.

Second-quarter new-vehicle registrations totaled 447,054, up 12.4 percent from 397,689 in the second quarter of 2012.

It was the 11th consecutive quarterly year-over-year increase.

The dealers group predicts new-vehicle registrations in 2013 will total nearly 1.7 million, compared with 1.53 million in 2012. That would represent a 60 percent improvement from the recessionary low point in 2009, the group said.

CNCDA said Toyota's Prius continued to hold on to its status as the best-selling new car in California through the first half of this year.

The Prius hybrid, which comes in multiple variations, rang up 33,987 registrations in the first six months of the year, just ahead of 31,798 registrations for the Honda Civic.

Other top sellers statewide in the first half of 2013 included the Honda Accord (31,576), the Toyota Camry (27,996) and the Toyota Corolla (26,522).

The Prius also was the best-selling new car in California in 2012, with 60,688 registrations.

CNCDA noted that California's hybrid retail market continues to lead the nation by a large margin.

Midyear retail registrations for new hybrid vehicles hit more than 59,000 units, or nearly five times more than the next-closest state.

"California motorists are increasingly taking advantage of the diverse choices and fuel efficiency benefits of hybrids without compromising their lifestyle," said Brian Maas, CNCDA president.

Also on Monday, CNCDA said it has acquired a downtown Sacramento office building at 1517 L St. and plans to move staff and operations into that space by July 2014. CNCDA will mark its 90th anniversary next year.

The nearly 13,000-square-foot building, originally constructed in 1960, is slated for a complete redesign.

"This building's proximity to the Capitol and the planned construction of a new downtown arena were both significant reasons our dealer board felt now is the time to make this investment in Sacramento," Maas said.

Specific financial details of the building purchase were not disclosed. CNCDA currently operates at 1415 L St., Suite 700.

Call The Bee's Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.

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