Electric vehicles drive new car sale surge

Electric vehicles surpass 20% of new sales in California, all-electric automaker Tesla closes gap on top market share of sales in the state

(Rigo Moran)
(Rigo Moran)
John Lindt
Published August 8, 2023  • 
12:00 pm

CALIFORNIA – New vehicle purchases are on the rise in California as the state prepares to prohibit sales of gas-powered vehicles in favor of electric cars and trucks beginning in 2035.

The California New Car Dealers Association released its second quarter 2023 California Auto Outlook report. The report showed an 11.6% increase in new vehicle registrations in the first six months of 2023 when compared to the same time last year. Projections through the end of the year indicate registrations will reach 1.8 million units, as forecasted by Auto Outlook. This is an increase from the predicted 1.78 million from 1Q 2022.

Hybrids & Electric Vehicles

The state’s BEV (battery electric vehicle) market share has exceeded 21 percent in the first half of 2023, well above the 16.4 percent reported for all of 2022. Hybrid units sold (including and excluding plug in) have tracked similar increases of .6 percent YTD (year to date) each.

New registrations for BEVs sold at franchised dealerships experienced a significant growth of 125 percent in the first half of this year. As a result, franchised dealerships’ market share in the state’s new retail BEV market rose from 23.2 percent in the first half of 2022 to 32.8 percent so far this year. Registrations for BEVs sold by direct sellers saw a 40 percent increase from this time last year.

2Q 2023 showed that Northern Californians are more willing to adopt BEVs, as those vehicles captured 25.9 percent of the market share, while Southern CA BEV sales reported 20.9% of registrations.

Model Segment Rankings

Toyota remained a brand leader, providing four of the eight best-selling vehicles in the primary segments for 2Q 2023. Toyota’s Camry, Tacoma, RAV4, and Highlander topped the Mid-Size and Large Cars, Compact/Mid Size Pickup, Compact SUV, and 3 Row Mid-Size SUV spots. The Honda Civic was the best-selling Small Car, the Tesla Model 3 topped the Near Luxury Car, the Ford F-Series was the best-selling Full Size Pickup, and the Tesla Model Y was the top Luxury Compact SUV. 

Brand Market Share and Summary

Toyota also held the top of California’s market share at 14.7 percent amongst all vehicle brands, followed by Tesla at 13.6 percent, Honda at 9.3 percent, Ford at 8.1 percent, and Chevrolet at 6.9 percent. As the Golden State continues to pave its own way, CA’s numbers differ notably from the rest of the U.S., which reports Ford as the top-selling brand at 12.2 percent, followed closely by Toyota at 12 percent, then by Chevrolet at 11.1 percent.

John Lindt
John Lindt is the publisher of Sierra2theSea.net, an online newspaper covering California’s Central Valley and Central Coast.