The drop in sales is being touted by many as a reflection of the state's bad economy, but it is more than that. Car sales are the largest single element for sales tax revenues in California.
There were just more than a million cars sold in California last year, the lowest total since 1975 when the state's population was about half what it is now.
Car sales are down nationwide, but California's drop is 7 percent greater than the national average.
The president of the California New Car Dealer Association says the cars being bought are less luxurious than in the past.
The one bright spot for auto dealerships is an increase in service work. Older cars need more attention.