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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Toyota leads new car, truck sales in Hawai'i

By Mike Leidemann
Advertiser Transportation Writer

Hawai'i auto dealers are having a good year.

By the end of this month, dealers here expect to have sold more than 50,000 new cars and light trucks in 2002. That's a 4.9 percent increase over last year.

What's the most popular brand? Toyota.


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According to the Hawai'i Automobile Dealers Association, about 22 percent of all cars and light trucks sold in the state in the first six months of this year were Toyotas. That translates to an estimated 10,778 new Toyotas expected to be sold here by the end of December.

That's followed by Ford (12.8 percent, 6,126 cars) and Honda (10.6 percent, 5,531 cars).

When it comes to individual models, Hawai'i Toyota dealers also have the top two best-selling cars, the Camry and Corolla. The Honda Civic and Accord come in next on the list.

Toyota also has the best-selling light truck, the Tacoma, followed by the Ford F-Series, Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger and Explorer.

Japanese brands continue to be more popular with Hawai'i drivers than their American counterparts.

Last year, sales of the big three U.S. automakers (Ford, General Motors, Chrysler) totaled 17,024 in Hawai'i; this year the forecast for U.S. sales is estimated to be 16,563, a drop of about 2.7 percent.

On the other hand, sales of Japanese, European and Korean cars are on the rise in the state; Japanese sales are expected to be up 9.9 percent; European sales are up 3.8 percent, and Korean car sales are up 13.8 percent, according to the forecasts in Hawai'i Auto Outlook, a publication of the auto dealers association.

When you compare sales in Hawai'i to nationwide trends, the foreign auto dealers look even better here.

The top 16 spots in a list of Hawai'i car sales compared to the same brand's national market share are all held by overseas-owned auto manufacturers. Suzuki in Hawai'i leads the way in local market share with sales that total 434 percent more than the company's national share. Others with high Hawai'i-to-Mainland ratios include Mazda (329 percent); Isuzu (271 percent); Nissan (224 percent) and Toyota (221 percent).

Mike Leidemann's Drive Time column runs Tuesdays. Reach him at 525-5460 or mleidemann@honoluluadvertiser.com.