man it reads like its really bad for the auto dealers based on the one line where the guys indicates sales were pulled into the first quarter do to a coming tax increase.
heres the link
California new car sales dip 43% in first quarter
ShareThisBy Dale Kasler
Published: Wednesday, Apr. 29, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 9B
New-car sales fell 43 percent in California during the first quarter, the biggest decline in memory and a fresh sign of the steep slump hitting the auto industry.
Just 231,726 new vehicles were registered in the state during the quarter, the California New Car Dealers Association said Tuesday. Peter Welch, chief executive of the organization, said he couldn't remember a quarter in which volumes fell that far. Sales dropped 39 percent in the fourth quarter.
Last year saw the biggest full-year decline in sales, 23 percent, he said. His records go back to 1974.
Despite signs that other sectors of the economy are starting to stabilize, Welch said car sales in California continue to weaken.
"The preliminary numbers we have for April are horrible," he said.
It appears many Californians rushed to buy cars in March to beat the higher sales tax, which took effect April 1. That's depressing April's numbers, he said.
The 43 percent drop was worse than the U.S. average of 38.4 percent.
The association predicted that sales for the full year will barely top 1 million in California – about half what they were in 2006.
Sales haven't fallen below 1 million since 1975, according to figures released by the association.