HONOLULU (KHON2) — Those in the market for a new car may have better luck finding a car that meets their needs, dealerships said car inventory is improving while the ticket price on cars is on a downward trend.

There are promising signs in the auto industry. The Autosource owner Rima Braden said their car inventory is in a much better shape than it has been since the pandemic began.

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Braden said, “For the consumer, they have much more selection than they did, you know within the last three years, pricing again has come down, the peak is gone so I think this is probably a good time.”

Braden said they buy most of their cars directly from private owners, and they continue to see high interest from people wanting to sell their pre-owned cars. Although folks are not likely to get as much bang for their buck compared to last year. 

“There was the opportunity to make some money a year ago, there was some opportunity when you leased a vehicle and at the end of that lease the residual value was lower than what the market value naturally you get the difference,” Braden said. “That is less now and really, really noticeable.”

Despite a drop in the value of pre-owned cars, other Hawaii car dealerships like Servco are also seeing their buying center busy buying cars back from customers. And as for its new car inventory, Lexus, Subaru and Toyota brands are seeing an increase in selection with demand still at an all-time high. 

The Hawaii Auto Outlook is tracking new car registrations in 2023 will increase by 6% compared to last year. 

However, it is seeing at least a one percent decline in sales of SUVs, pickup trucks and vans.

Demand remains high for alternative fuel cars like hybrids and electric vehicles, Servco said most of their models remain on a reservation basis. 

As for Autosource, Braden said their Tesla cars inventory remains strong.

Braden said, “The new car inventory, for Tesla especially, has roared back so they have a ton of inventory now, so naturally that market you know, basically the bubble burst and they are back to your typical pre-owned car or less than new cars as it should be.”

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At least for now, it is a buyer’s market.