Auto show hopes to boost auto sales - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Auto show hopes to boost auto sales

Shaun Foley Shaun Foley
Dave Rolf Dave Rolf
James Frifeldt James Frifeldt

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The First Hawaiian International Auto Show is underway and struggling auto dealers say it couldn't come at a better time. On Friday, we learned a well-known auto group is shifting gears and dropping a well-known vehicle from its lot.

This ominous news comes as hundreds turn out for the first day of Hawaii's biggest auto show.

It's like kids in a candy store, except these treats are mostly for grown-ups.

"They get to compare the newest makes and models and they get to compare their biggest competition directly across the aisle, gets people really excited about shopping and buying cars," Motor Trend Auto Shows' Shaun Foley said.

Hawaii has hosted an auto show since 1977, but auto dealers may have never needed one as much as this year's exhibition.

"It's important to auto dealers that the economy is stabilizing because now we think things can start to take off again, in fact, let's leave those 28 months of recession behind," Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association executive director, Dave Rolf said.

Rolf says Hawaii dealers sold less than half the number of new vehicles last year, compared to the record numbers in 2005.

Slow sales may have been the reason why Cutter Ala Moana Volkswagen will stop selling Volkswagens next Thursday and just concentrate on their Mazda brand.

But some like James Frifeldt, are taking advantage of the good deals to be had and looking to buy.

"I need a car to get back and forth to work and our cars are getting a little bit older, time to upgrade and now is about time, so we thought we'd come down here and check it out," Frifeldt said.

Hawaii auto dealers feel even if this weekend's auto show doesn't ring in more sales, it may at least give people the excitement of seeing or possibly owning a new car again.

"Auto sales signals things are back to normal," Rolf said.

The show wraps up Sunday afternoon. Hawaii is the next to last show that Motor Trend puts on this year.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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