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Prius leads 2013 California car sales; domestic brands make gains

May 24, 2013|By Jerry Hirsch
  • In California, the Toyota Prius led all models in sales in the first quarter, but the domestic brands have started to make gains.
In California, the Toyota Prius led all models in sales in the first quarter,… (David Dewhurst / MCT )

The Toyota Prius hybrid was the bestselling vehicle in California during the first quarter of this year, narrowly outpacing Honda’s redesigned Accord sedan.

Toyota posted sales of 15,661 of the hybrids, leading the Accord’s sales of 15,369 cars. The Honda Civic was third with sales of 14,918, according to data compiled for the California New Car Dealer’s Assn. by auto research firm R.L. Polk & Co.

The Prius wrested the annual California sales crown from the Civic last year. Nationally, Ford's F-series pickup truck is the top-selling vehicle.

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Hybrid sales continue to be on the upswing in the state, according to the dealer trade organization, reaching 7.5% of all vehicle sales.Helped by the hot-selling Tesla Model S, electric cars also are making gains, accounting for 1% of the California market during the quarter.

Overall, vehicle sales in the state grew 12.6% in the quarter, a brisker rate than the 7.2% gain logged by the auto industry nationally, according to the dealer group.

The domestic brands saw the fastest growth, logging a nearly 18% gain in registrations and increasing their market share to 28.4% from 27.1% in the same period a year earlier. Their gains came at the expense of South Korean automotive siblings Hyundai and Kia, which both lost ground in the state the first quarter.

Japanese brands continue to dominate the California market, accounting for 48.4% of sales, unchanged from the first quarter of last year.

The Dodge and Subaru brands were the fastest growing in the state during the quarter.

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