Better deals for Hawaii car buyers?

Rick Ching
Rick Ching
Tim Jeffs
Tim Jeffs

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

MAPUNAPUNA (KHNL) - The recession has taken its toll on Hawaii's auto dealers, stalling sales for months. But the excess inventories means car buyers could get a deal - from the dealers.

Ah, you can almost smell that new car smell the second you step into the car dealer's lot. But because of the recession, there hasn't been a lot of people sniffing.

"Auto sales have been soft, the economy is slow that is significant," said Rick Ching, the Executive Vice President of Servco.

At some lots, sales have dropped in half from recent years. That has meant many more cars just sitting around. Most car dealers try to keep a two month supply of inventory on hand, but is has taken months to sell off the excess cars and trucks once sales dropped.

But for buyers, excess inventory could make their car more affordable.

"You'll see last year's inventory on the car lot, everybody has some of those. Because you want to get rid of last year's model you can get a deal or incentives on those," added Ching.

Tim Jeffs is shopping for a new car. Because the recession has his motor revving for saving money.

"I realized there's a down market, sometimes it might be a buyers market," said the Makawao resident.

Jeffs is checking out not only the collection of sporty vehicles on the Servco lot, but also deals for financing. And like many car shoppers, he's willing to wait for just right ride.

"I always keep my eye open for a deal. If the deal is right - I might make a move," added Jeffs.

Dealers are also making some new moves themselves. Next year's models used to come out in the fall, but already some dealers have 2010 cars on their lot.

Dealers are now gearing up for an increase in sales with the First Hawaiian International Auto Show about to start. That event helps boost interest and excitement in new cars each year.