Car sales down in Hawaii and expected to drop more

HONOLULU — Hawaii consumers are buying fewer new vehicles, a recent report said.

New-vehicle registrations declined 4.4 percent in 2018, and sales are projected to soften even further this year, according to a quarterly study by Hawaii Auto Outlook.

The 2018 car sales drop marked the state’s first decline after seven consecutive years of growth, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .

“There are a few signs pointing to a market slowdown,” said Jeff Foltz, editor of Hawaii Auto Outlook. “GDP (gross domestic product) growth appears to be easing while there are increasing concerns about financial market stability and the prospects for global growth. But the strong labor market, combined with a steady stream of impressive new products, should prevent a sharp decline over the next 18 months.”

The 56,520 registrations last year were the lowest since 2014 when there were 54,039 vehicles registered statewide, according to the report produced for the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association.

There were 59,137 registrations in 2017. Hawaii Auto Outlook forecasts this year there will be 54,750 registrations. That would mark a second consecutive decline but the sixth straight year with 50,000 or more registrations for the state.

The figures are based on county Department of Motor Vehicles registrations.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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