Honda Accord replaces Toyota Prius as California’s bestselling car
The Honda Accord overtook Toyota’s Prius hybrid as the bestselling vehicle in California during the first quarter of this year, according to the California New Car Dealers Assn.
The Prius had been the bestseller in the state for two consecutive years and could still end 2014 at the top.
Honda dealers sold 15,611 Accords in the first quarter while Toyota showrooms moved 15,318 Prius hybrids. Honda’s Civic was third with sales of 14,627, and the Toyota Camry was fourth with 14,389. The Toyota Corolla rounded out the top five with sales of 13,350.
No other vehicle sold more than 10,000 units in the California market in the three-month period.
Chrysler Group had the fastest-growing major brands in California in the quarter. Registration of new Jeep vehicles grew almost 57% from a year earlier to 10,359. Other big Chrysler gainers include Ram trucks, up 49% to 5,286, and Fiat, up 78% to 3,514.
Other big gainers were Lincoln and Lexus.
Electric carmaker Tesla Motors had the biggest drop. Its California sales fell 36% in the quarter to 1,533 vehicles. Other big losers in the state were Volvo and Volkswagen.
The trade group’s report pointed to the divergence in the California market from the rest of the nation. Nationally, Ford’s F-Series pickup truck is the bestselling vehicle by a wide margin. But in the Golden State it ranks only seventh with sales of 9,255.
Overall it was a good quarter for California car dealers, said Brian Maas, president of the dealers association. Dealers are on pace to sell about 1.8 million vehicles this year, back to the pre-recession level.
With an increase of 5.4%, California’s sales have slowed slightly from previous quarters but are still ahead of the 2.7% U.S. new-car sales growth for the quarter.
Japanese brands continued to dominate California car sales, holding 49.2% of the state’s new-car market. Domestic brands accounted for 27.6% of the market, with European brands at 15.5% and South Korean brands at 7.6%.
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