California is a unique market that’s quick to adopt new technologies — and often the first to develop them.

Tesla’s total U.S. market share last year was just 3.5 percent, the CNCDA said, vs. about 13 percent for Toyota.

But California’s changing tastes have implications for the U.S., analysts say.

Decades ago, California was the first state to embrace the Toyota and Honda import brands, which later became mainstream players in the U.S. And Bloomberg data puts California as the fourth-largest economy in the world — no small prize for any automaker.

Tesla is also making significant moves to reduce its luxury-level pricing to capture mainstream buyers.

Tesla recently cut its sticker prices and it newly qualifies for the new federal tax credit of up to $7,500 per vehicle for buyers of the Model 3 and Model Y. Tesla had lost access to the previous EV credit in 2020 because it had reached the quota of 200,000 vehicles under the old rules.

The effective price of a Model Y has fallen from the mid-$60,000 range last year to under $50,000 this year, including the tax credit. The base Model 3’s effective price, with the tax incentive, is under $40,000.

Tesla plans to make more product announcements March 1, possibly including an entry-level, mainstream vehicle.

According to the CNCDA data, the Model 3 had 78,934 registrations in the state in 2022 for a 15 percent market share among passenger cars, with the Camry second at 55,967 for a 11 percent share. The Toyota Corolla was in third place.

The Model Y had 87,257 registrations to the RAV4’s 59,794 in the light-truck category. Ford F-Series pickups were No. 3 with 40,232 registrations, the dealers association said.

Association Chairman Tony Toohey said California buyers are embracing new zero-emission vehicles as quickly as they are introduced to the market, which bodes well for automakers with EV portfolios.

“With ZEV product announcements every day, we’re seeing the latest and greatest in technology and innovation in new-car makes and models by the major automakers,” said Toohey, owner of Auburn Toyota. “California drivers want these cars now.”

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