The latest new vehicle sales data from California New Car Dealers Association indicates that new vehicle sales remain on track again to exceed 2 million for the year, even though Q2 sales were down slightly by 0.7% compared to the same quarter in 2017. Q2 sales for battery electric plug-ins (BEVs) were up primarily as a result of Tesla finally fulfilling earlier reservations for Model 3. Total PEV sales (plug-in hybrids and BEVs) were up due to this result and the continued shift from standard hybrid to PEV sales. Key findings from the data:
• Light truck market share was 55.5%, up from 50.4% in Q2 2017. The growing consumer preference for larger vehicles continues to be a contra-trend affecting the state’s ability to achieve its ZEV goals, as fewer models are available in this market component at price points that would achieve broader sales. The few models that are now offered in this class tend to be in the high end of the market.
• Consumer shifts to light trucks for the US outside California was even more pronounced, accounting for 69.6% of new light vehicle sales in this quarter. The potential for California’s ZEV policies to have much of an effect beyond its borders are increasingly limited as a consequence, as few models are being offered for the types of vehicles consumers prefer to buy.
• The trend towards light trucks came even in spite of higher fuel prices. The average California price for regular gas in Q2 2018 was $3.66 a gallon, 21.0% higher than the prior year’s $3.03.