Summer Sales Leave Hawaii Dealerships Unexcited

November 3, 2010, 12:27 PM HST
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In an effort to push new cars in competition with lower-priced used cars, dealerships in Hawaii offered some of the best summer sales of the last decade.  The results, however, were far from exceptional.  Comfort is taking a backseat to cost, while luxuries fall out among car shoppers.

Through the first nine months of 2010, new car sales racked up a .5% boost over last year on summer sales that came in 1% lower than the year ago period.  Such lackluster sales, especially during a time of large discounts, only confirms the trend of shifting automotive tastes.  These new tastes may last long into any economic recovery, as well.

While larger, less fuel efficient cars were popular all the way through $147 oil prices in 2008, and $5 prices at the pump, they, too, have fallen in popularity among a car market now dominated by smaller, less expensive models.  Likewise, foreign automobiles have proven to be significantly more popular in Hawaii, as domestic automaker sales fall off to stronger foreign competition.

Through September, Acura and Kia models earned a sales increase of 50% or greater.  Domestic automakers like Dodge and Chevrolet, however, saw sales declines of 40 and 13 percent, respectively.

Of all the domestic automakers, Ford proved the best in Hawaii, mostly due to its compact Focus, which has slowly become the standard for cost-effective transportation.  The newly re-released Fiesta is also bringing the younger car owners to Ford with its industry leading fuel efficiency, and an option that allows Fiesta purchasers to select from a number of bright new colors.


Foreign automaker lineups aren’t so daring, instead focusing primarily on the hard fuel efficiency and cost.  Acura, the fastest seller in 2009, has for a long time targeted the small, but growing market for compacts and sedans that are priced in between luxury and economy with features like all leather interior, aluminum alloy wheels, and attention to detail that appeals to those looking for luxury at the right price.


Kia, however, is firmly in the economy market, offering a car nearly fit for twenty somethings, the Kia Soul and the more classic Forte.  Going forward, automakers are going to have to think smaller and more efficient to keep up with Hawaii’s tastes.

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