Dealerships try to drive up truck sales - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Dealerships try to drive up truck sales

Kuulei Makua Kuulei Makua
Lance Ichimura Lance Ichimura

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

MAPUNAPUNA (KHNL) - The entire car industry is feeling the tough economic times, especially with the sales of trucks and SUV's. But auto dealers are hoping to lure you back to loving those big cars.

It's the finish to another sale here at Servco Toyota. Kuulei Makua says her new Highlander SUV is perfect.

"My friends love it, they say its roomy, it's nice, it's spacious, it's big, no complaints," said Kuulei Makua.

Since gas prices started guzzling up more money, consumers shifted to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. Truck and SUV sales are stagnant.

"Everybody across the nation is kind of struggling with automotive sales in general. Trucks and SUV's along with other cars have seen a little downturn," said Servco Toyota Retail Vice President Lance Ichimura.

Last month, nearly every automaker saw its U.S. Sales drop, but dealerships say fuel prices starting to creep back down reflects a reviving trend for trucks and SUVs.

Customers are seeing slashed prices, low-interest rates, and employee discounts by dealers hoping to drive in business.

"Incentives all the time are great for the consumer because we have great selection, it gives an opportunity to get maybe the truck they've been wanting for a long time," said Ichimura.

But for customers like Makua, a sluggish economy and consumer uncertainty takes a back seat to convenience.

"This is roomy, it's nice, it has a back row in case I decide to have more kids," said Makua.

While the strain on big car sales is expected to ease, for now dealers hope these deals will lead to more people driving off the lot.

You may hear ads on the radio offering a free car if you a buy a truck or suv, but dealers say the price of that first purchase is sometimes double its normal price. By the way, that free car is only a lease for two years, which means in the end you really aren't saving any money.

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