• May 2015
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O.C. auto sector ahead of national curve in 2012

The market is likely to post its third consecutive annual increase for the year

by Caitlin Adams
Orange County’s auto sector has been enjoying a period of development and growth over the past few years, with increases in new vehicle sales slated to continue through the end of the year, according to the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association.

However, due to a convocation of significant economic factors, OCADA is predicting slower growth in new vehicle sales in Orange County over the next several years. The forecast for 2013 is expected to dip a little, with new vehicle sales growth measuring up at 9.2 percent for the coming year. The Association is looking at a sluggish economic recovery coupled with stubborn unemployment levels, the potential for economically restrictive fiscal policy from Washington, the Euro Zone debt crisis and a slowing global economy in making its assessment, and predicts that growth will be more measured in the next few years.

OCADA reports that Orange County saw an increase of 23.2 percent in new retail light vehicle registrations in the first nine months of 2012 over the same period last year, outpacing the national market by ten percentage points. The county is on-track to improve 21.3 percent for the 2012 calendar year, with a total of 146,500 new light vehicle registrations for the full twelve months.

According to reports of new vehicle registrations by auto brand contrasted with last year, brands that carry more fuel-efficient lineups appear to be more popular in Orange County in 2012. Kia, Toyota/Scion, smart and Jeep top their respective industry automaker/brand segments (Korean, Japanese, European and Detroit). A significant finding of the 2012 year-to-date new registration reports is the performance of European auto brand smart, known for its fuel-efficient “microcars.” Startlingly, smart posted a 286.6 percent increase in new registrations through Q3 2012, compared to the same period in 2011.

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