Maui County's new vehicle market rose 29.8 percent through the first three quarters of 2012 compared to the same period last year - the highest growth rate in the state, the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association's "Hawaii Auto Outlook" reported.
A total of 3,500 new vehicles were sold, compared to 2,696 for the same period last year. That was the second highest total in the state behind Oahu's 25,640 vehicles, a 20.4 percent increase. The Big Island had 3,409 vehicles sold (up 29.3 percent) and Kauai, 1,335 (up 23.4 percent).
Light trucks represented 55.1 percent of sales on Maui. The leading brands in terms of market share were Toyota/Scion, 26.6 percent; Nissan, 15.2 percent; and Honda and Ford at 12.7 percent, according to the report that tracks new retail vehicle registrations and other reports.
Statewide, a total of 33,884 vehicles were sold in the third quarter, a 22.3 percent increase from the same period last year. That figure was well above the national average of 13 percent.
The outlook for the full year statewide is for a 19.9 percent increase from 2011, according to the report. A total of 44,500 vehicle sales are estimated.
Growth is expected to continue next year, though at a slower pace with a predicted 48,500 new light vehicle registrations, the report said. Among the negative factors are sluggish economic growth, a slowly recovering labor market, economically restrictive fiscal policy from Washington, the Euro Zone debt crisis and a slowing global economy. Factors fueling growth in sales include pent-up demand, an improving housing market, low interest rates and gradually improving household debt levels.
State sales of hybrid and electric cars for the report period were up 78 percent, with market share rising to 6.1 percent. That totals 2,061 vehicles - 1,882 hybrids and 179 electrics.
Toyota Corolla/Matrix was the best-selling car statewide during the three quarters with the Toyota Tacoma the leading light truck vehicle, the report said. Trailing the Corolla were the Honda Civic and Toyota Prius and behind the Tacoma were the Honda CRV and the Nissan Frontier.
The Detroit Three (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) accounted for a slightly larger share of the Hawaii market through the first three quarters, increasing from 19.4 percent last year to 19.9 percent.