It might be a good time to haggle for a car.
Orange County auto sales have decreased 3.1 percent in the first half of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016, according to data from the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association.
“We look at this as a plateau. We’ve been at record sales level and just couldn’t remain there,” said John Sackrison, executive director of OCADA.
Sackrison sees it this way: “It’s plateauing off at a really healthy level.”
After six years of impressive growth, county auto sales, much like U.S. volume, started to level off in 2016. U.S. auto sales were off 2.3 percent in the first half of 2017, according to Edmunds.
So far in Orange County, light trucks have remained the big winner, rising 2.6 percent while car sales fell 7.9 percent.
“Fuel prices are low and construction is booming so more and more people are making the choice for SUVs, whether it’s a small or full-size SUV,” Sackrison said.
Some of the biggest mid-year trends are:
Alternative powertrain: Hybrid and electric vehicles claimed 6.2 percent of the market share, up from less than 5 percent last year.
“There are so many manufacturers that are now offering them,” Sackrison said. “There are a lot of choices for people looking for electric or alternative-fuel vehicles.”
It helps, he added, that there are more affordable options today than in previous years.
Sale increases: Brands with the biggest percent increase in sales in Orange County the first half of the year were Jaguar, Chrysler, FIAT, Subaru, Audi and Infiniti.
Popular brands: Toyota, Honda, Ford, Mercedes and Chevrolet have the biggest share of Orange County’s auto sales.
Popular cars: The top selling vehicles through June in Orange County were the Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Prius, Toyota Tacoma, Ford F-Series and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Sackrison expects to see similar numbers the rest of the year.
One factor leading to a…