The boom in auto sales gave the national economy a huge lift in 2012 and was critical in helping swing the industrial Midwest into Barack Obama’s camp during the 2012 presidential campaign.
But it turns out California — where gasoline prices were among the nation’s highest for much of the past year — was leading the boom in car sales. It was also at the cutting edge of the shift from conventional gasoline power to cleaner, higher mileage battery-based vehicles. Significantly, the Toyota Prius became the state’s best-selling vehicle.
But, as has been the case for a number of decades, foreign-owned brands, especially the Asians, topped the California sales charts, Kia, the increasingly stylish Korean carmaker, was the fastest growing brand, posting a 53% sales gain among California’s traditionally trend-conscious buyers.