Hawaii bouncing back from auto sales slump

Car sales jumped 20 percent in 2012

Published  6:15 PM HST Jan 22, 2013
HONOLULU -

Cars keep rolling off the lots in Hawaii.  The islands have seen an increase in sales for the third straight year.

"It's uncharacteristic to have a 20-point jump in a year," said Dave Rolf of the Hawaii Automotive Dealers Association.

Experian Automotive compiled the car registration numbers in Hawaii and found 44,830 new cars were registered in 2012.  That's up from 37,086 in 2011 and 33,639 in 2010.

"We were sort of the bottom of the ocean for a long while and we're working our way back now," said Rolf.  "Normal sales would be 50,000 and we'll be shy of that this coming year at 47,000."

Rolf says people held off buying new cars so they kept the cars they had wondering when the economy is going to get better.   He says it's clear people are back in the showrooms.

The brands seeing more buyers include Smart Car, Acura and Chrysler.

"Chrysler came out with more fuel-efficient vehicles and Cutter's gotten a lot deeper in the amount of cars we stock from Chrysler," said Cutter General Manager Art Toorinjian.  "We probably doubled our stock compared to the last two years."

Cutter's already increasing inventory for 2013 hoping for another big year.

However, the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association says the numbers will probably level off in 2013.

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