Auto registrations rise for seventh year in a row
Pickups, SUVs and vans ruled the road in 2017 as Hawaii’s new-vehicle registrations increased for the seventh consecutive year.
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Pickups, SUVs and vans ruled the road in 2017 as
Hawaii’s new-vehicle registrations increased for the seventh consecutive year.
Registrations in the islands edged up 1.1 percent to 59,137 from 58,485 in 2016, according to a report to be released today by Hawaii Auto Outlook. It was the fourth consecutive year that new registrations exceeded 54,000.
But registrations dramatically slowed in the fourth quarter, falling 9.8 percent
to 13,438 from 14,905 in the year-earlier period. That could be a harbinger for 2018, according to Hawaii Auto Outlook, which produces the report for the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association.
New registrations in Hawaii are expected to flatten out this year with a gain of just 0.6 percent to 59,500,
according to the report.
Hawaii’s slowing vehicle market is following the national trend, which saw new registrations fall 0.8 percent in 2017.
“There are several signs (such as rising interest rates and less pent-up demand) that are pointing to a market slowdown,” wrote Jeff Foltz, editor of Hawaii Auto Outlook. “But a relatively healthy economy, a steady stream of impressive new products, and strong consumer affordability should limit declines over the next several years.”
The light-trucks category, which includes vans, SUVs and pickups, continued to increase in popularity over cars in Hawaii. The market share for light trucks in 2017 expanded to 64.3 percent while cars represented
35.7 percent of the market. In 2016, light trucks had a market share of 61.4 percent,
and cars were at 38.6 percent. In 2012, light trucks had less than half the Hawaii market at 48.7 percent. The popularity of light trucks has exploded in recent years due to stable gas prices, spurring potential buyers to seek out vehicles with additional cabin room for passengers and storage, as well as a higher seat position that allows the driver to see the road better.
While new vehicle registrations can be representative of auto sales, the two don’t always align because a buyer can purchase a vehicle
one month and register it
in another month. The data are based on county Department of Motor Vehicles
Toyota and Honda were the runaway leaders in 2017 as the top two brands in Hawaii with market shares of 26.6 percent and 15.2 percent, respectively. Nissan (9.9 percent), Ford (7.1 percent) and Chevrolet (6.1 percent) rounded out the top five. The best-selling cars in the state were the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Toyota Camry while the leaders in the light-truck market were the Toyota Tacoma, Toyota 4Runner and Honda CR-V. The combined hybrid/electric vehicle share exceeded 6 percent in 2017 with the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf the best-sellers in that combined category.
The shutdown of Hawaii’s only Volvo dealership, which closed in December after receiving a breach-of-contract franchise termination letter from its distributor, resulted in just nine Volvos being registered in the fourth quarter and 89 for the year. Those figures were down 77.5 percent and 41.1 percent, respectively, from the year-earlier periods. Brothers Marc and Jarrett Cutter subsequently took over the franchise and opened a new Volvo dealership in January in Waipahu.
Nationally, the automakers in the top five for market share were the same as in Hawaii but in a different order: Toyota (13.4 percent), Ford (12.1 percent), Chevrolet (11.4 percent), Honda (10.2 percent) and Nissan (7.0 percent).