The best selling new car in California last year? The Toyota Prius, which dethroned the Honda Civic, which was the champ for 2011 and 2010.

New car sales overall jumped 25.3 percent in 2012 to 1.61 million cars and light trucks, according to a report this month by the California New Car Dealers Association. The national increase was 13.4 percent.

“The release of pent up demand, easing credit conditions and strong trade-in values helped the market last year and should continue to support sales in 2013,” the report says, predicting a 8.2 percent sale increase this year.

The  Prius was not only the top selling car in the state last year but also was No. 1 among subcompacts with 60,688 new Priuses registered. That beat out the Honda Civic at 57,124.

Among other hot-selling vehicles by category:

–Sporty compact: Chevrolet Camaro with 7,772 registrations, with Ford Mustang No. 2 at 6,299.

–Standard midsize: Toyota Camry at 50,250 with the Honda Accord No. 2 at 49,420.

–Large midsize: Dodge Charger at  3,990 with the Chrysler 300 No. 2 at 3,796.

–Near luxury: BMW 3-series at 18,856 followed by the Mercedes C-Class at 18,093.

–Luxury: Mercedes E-Class at 16,397 followed by BMW 5-series at 10,457.

–Sports car: Porsche 911 at 1,965 followed by the Nissan 370Z at 1,284.

–Compact pickup: Toyota Tacoma at 21,935 followed by the Nissan Frontier at 6,193.

–Full-size pickup: Ford F-series at 25,434 followed by the Chevy Silverado at 17,804.

–Minivan: Toyota Sienna at 16,147 followed by the Honda Odyssey at 14,737.

–Compact SUV: Honda CRV at 29,055 followed by the Toyota RAV4 at 15,274.

–Midsize SUV: Toyota Highlander at 13,059 followed by the Honda Pilot at 12,602.

–Fullsize SUV: Ford Explorer at 9,377 followed by the GMC Acadia at 3,949.

–Luxury SUV: Lexus RX at 14,451 followed by the BMW X5 at 7,411.

Among carmakers, Toyota had the biggest slice of the 2012 California new-car market at 21.1 percent, followed by Honda, 12.5 percent; Ford, 11.3 percent; GM, 11.2 percent; Nissan, 8.3 percent; Hyundai/Kia, 8.3 percent; Chrysler, 6.5 percent; VW, 5.5 percent; BMV, 4.5 percent; Mercedes Benz, 4.1 percent; and other, 6.7 percent.

Kia had the largest percentage increase last year at 53.3 percent

Wondering about hybrids? The report didn’t break it down by model but noted that 98,154 were registered last year — 7.4 percent of the overall market — up from 2011’s 56,408. For electric cars, new registrations were 2,996 last year — 0.2 percent of market share — down from 2011’s 4,311.

To see the full report, CLICK HERE.


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