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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 2, 2010

Auto show turnout better than last year

Advertiser Staff and News Services

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

This year's attendance at the First Hawaiian International Auto Show has raised hopes for a turnaround in car sales.

REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Attendance at last weekend's First Hawaiian International Auto Show was up 3.9 percent from last year, the Hawaii Automobile Dealers' Association said yesterday.

The increase followed an 8.2 percent increase in 2009, according to HADA. Motor Trend magazine, which produces the show and 23 others across the country, does not release actual attendance figures for the shows.

Stan Masamitsu, HADA president, said the increase in attendance is a sign that the long slump in local car sales is poised for a turnaround this year. HADA is forecasting a 9.7 percent increase in new car sales this year statewide.

The forecast is supported by evidence of a rise in auto loans. "As the largest automobile bank lender we definitely have seen sales activity picking up over the last three months via our auto dealers," said First Hawaiian Bank President Bob Harrison.


The Hawaii Medical Assurance Association completed its purchase of Summerlin Life and Health Insurance Co.'s health insurance membership.

HMAA said it's added about 20,000 members to its ranks and now has about 46,000 members in the state. The transaction created the state's No. 3 health insurer behind the Hawaii Medical Service Association and Kaiser Permanente.


Hawaiian Airlines said it will move up the launch of its nonstop daily flight between Oakland and Maui to June 4, 13 days earlier than originally scheduled.

"Customer response to this new flight has been strong, so we are moving up our plans, and there are some very attractive fares for travelers who want to get a jump on summer," said Glenn Taniguchi, Hawaiian's senior vice president for marketing and sales.

The Oakland-Maui flight is a first for Hawaiian and will be operated through Sept. 6. Flight 23 will depart Oakland daily at 12:20 p.m. and arrive on Maui at 2:20 p.m. Return Flight 24 will depart Maui daily at 9:35 p.m. and arrive in Oakland the following morning at 5:25 a.m.