Orange County Business Journal

OC Auto Sales Up 9.1% in Q3

Mediha DiMartino Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sales at Orange County auto dealers rose 9.1% to 43,745 vehicles in the third quarter compared to the same period last year, according to Newport Beach-based Orange County Automobile Dealers Association.

The figures, published in the Orange County Auto Outlook report, are based on new retail car and light truck registrations in the county.

The uptick in registrations follows a similar spike reported for the second quarter.

The local market is on pace for a 10.9% gain to 166,000 cars sold for the year.

Sales figures for the first nine months of 2013 show an 11.9% increase to 125,857 vehicles sold in OC.

Los Angeles County’s auto sales were up 14.4%, while the industry posted 8% growth nationally compared to same period last year.

Hybrid and electric cars and trucks showed the biggest increase in sales so far this year—49%—representing 9% of the market.

Mazda Motor Corp., which has its North American operations in Irvine, posted a 42.9% sales increase, with Subaru of America Inc. close behind at 41.8%. Dodge was up 31.3%, followed by Ram and BMW brands, both showing a 29.2% uptick. Dodge and Ram are brands owned by Chrysler Group LLC in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Toyota Motor Corp. commanded biggest share of the market—18.6%—followed by Honda Motor Co. Inc. at 13.1%. Ford Motor Company came in third, accounting for 8.3% of new auto sales in the county.

An overall gain in the double digits is unlikely for next year, according to the report.

The report forecasts a 7% increase in auto sales for 2014, a drop attributed to “less than stellar economic growth, economically restrictive fiscal policy from Washington D.C., and a slowing global economy.” Moderate “demand, an improving housing market, low interest rates and gradually improving household debt levels,” will likely assure sales remain on the upward track.