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Saturday, Oct 1, 2022
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The Number

The good news: California is on pace to sell 2 million new cars this year. The not-so-good news? The projected total is slightly less than last year. A report from the California New Car Dealers Association found that during the first half of the year, its member dealers sold more than 1 million new cars, so it figures the industry is on track to sell 2.05 million vehicles by the end of December, compared to 2.09 million last year. “In 2009, we sold a little more than 1 million, so selling 2 million is better than the Great Recession,” said Brian Maas, president of the association in Sacramento. As for the San Fernando Valley, which Maas called a “center for car culture,” it reflects larger statewide trends. Generally, car sales are gradually dropping in California, while light truck sales are climbing. In fact, if sales continue steadily during the second half of the year, 2017 could set a record as the first time more than 50 percent of new vehicles are “trucks,” a category that includes SUVs, pickups and vans. “When gas prices are relatively low, people tend to buy larger vehicles,” Maas said relative to improving truck sales. “Second, most of the manufacturers are offering new compact SUVs and similar products, and consumers have responded positively.” Also, trucks make sense for business owners and as the economy has improved so has their buying power. “If you are a small pool supply business in the San Fernando Valley, chances are pretty good you’ll want a pickup,” Maas said. During the second quarter, the number of new car sales in the state actually declined from the previous year – the first quarterly drop since 2010. But the report noted “the decline was expected and is consistent with the general outlook that new vehicle sales have plateaued.” “It’s a cyclical business,” Maas said. “You can’t have sales go up every quarter forever.” – Joel Russell

Joel Russel
Joel Russel
Joel Russell joined the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2006 as a reporter. He transferred to sister publication San Fernando Valley Business Journal in 2012 as managing editor. Since he assumed the position of editor in 2015, the Business Journal has been recognized four times as the best small-circulation tabloid business publication in the country by the Alliance of Area Business Publishers. Previously, he worked as senior editor at Hispanic Business magazine and editor of Business Mexico.
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