Toyota Prius keeps Calif. sales crown; Tesla moves up

Sales of Toyota's four-model Prius line totaled 69,728 in California last year, ahead of the Honda Civic

Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
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LOS ANGELES (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius hybrid was the best-selling vehicle line in California for the second year in a row in 2013, with Tesla Motors Inc.'s Model S claiming third place among luxury cars, according to a market report.

Sales of Toyota's four-model Prius line were 69,728 in the state that buys the most new cars and trucks of any in the United States, ahead of Honda Motor Co.'s Civic, based on the California Auto Outlook report issued Thursday by the California New Car Dealers Association.

Model S sales were 8,347, behind Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz E-class and BMW's 5-Series sedans. The $71,000 Tesla Model S wasn't among 2012's top sellers.

Sales of hybrids, plug-in hybrids autos and electric vehicles in the most populous state are disproportionately higher than the U.S. average owing to emissions rules that are among the world's toughest.

Combined sales of autos powered partially or wholly by electricity accounted for 9.3 percent of California sales last year, according to the report.

By comparison, the U.S. average for hybrid and rechargeable autos was only 3.82 percent, based on data compiled by HybridCars.com and Baum & Associates.

Californians bought 1.71 million new autos last year, 11 percent of the 15.6 million purchased nationwide.

Toyota's Prius line, the world's top-selling hybrid, includes the main hatchback, the v wagon, c subcompact and a plug-in electric version.

Toyota said Wednesday that it's recalling about 1.9 million Prius models worldwide to fix a software flaw that could cause the cars to lose power or stall.

Tesla is scheduled to release fourth-quarter financial results on Feb. 19.

Analysts on average estimate the company will post a profit, excluding some costs, of 18 cents a share, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The net loss may narrow to $2.4 million, or 2 cents a share, while sales may more than double to $668.6 million.

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