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Hawaii (USA) Full Year 2017: Toyota Tacoma celebrates 15 years at #1

The Toyota Tacoma reigns supreme in Hawaii.

* See the Top 10 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

Thanks to our partnership with JATO Dynamics, after detailing Full Year 2017 State by State sales in the U.S., we zoom in on the most significant States. We end this trip through some of the 51 American States in Hawaii, a State I explored back in 2016 with two Photo Reports: Hawaii 2016 Photo Reports: The cars of the Big Island and The cars of O’ahu. In line with its remoteness from the U.S. mainland – it is located 2.000 miles/3.200 km to the southwest in the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian car market displays such a unique profile that it warrants a separate annual report. Hawaii is home to 1.4 million inhabitants and ranks 36th out of 51 States based on its Top 10 sales volume at 24.825 units. Hawaii is the only State in which coffee is cultivable and the only one that has never recorded sub-zero Fahrenheit temperatures, with its record low temperature being 12 °F (−11 °C) observed in May 1979 on the summit of Mauna Kea.

The Tacoma is #1 in Hawaii since at least 2003, when it still shared its design with the Hilux.

The main particularity of the Hawaiian new car market is that it continues to be the only State to crown the Toyota Tacoma as its overall best-seller. This is not a fluke either as the Tacoma has been Hawaii’s favourite for at least the past 15 consecutive years, with reports of it being #1 surfacing as far back as 2003. In fact, Hawaii is also the only State to welcome the Tacoma on its podium, with its next best 2017 finishes being in West Virginia (#4) and Oregon (#6). All-in-all, according to the magazine Popular Mechanics, the Toyota Tacoma sells around eight times faster in Hawaii than it does across the U.S… In 2016 when I explored the archipelago, I uncovered one of the reasons behind the Tacoma’s fantastic success in Hawaii: ethnicity.  Hawaii has the highest percentage of Asian Americans of any State in the U.S. (39% of the population), and non-white ethnic groups have been shown to purchase non-American brands at a higher rate. Add to this the location of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, where purchase patterns traditionally and markedly converge towards Toyota and Asian brands in general as buyers relate more closely to this part of the world culturally, and you have a perfect storm situation for the Tacoma, adapted to the archipelago’s rough terrain but affordable.

At #2, the Jeep Wrangler scores its only Top 10 ranking in all of the U.S. here in Hawaii.

Even though the Tacoma is down 5% year-on-year in 2017, it still sells more than double the amount of the #2, a ranking now held by the Jeep Wrangler thanks to deliveries up 19% after a 13% surge in 2016. Wrangler is almost synonymous with Hawaii as you can see in the Cars of the Big Island 2016 Photo Report and the American nameplate scores its sole Top 10 ranking anywhere in the U.S. here. It could potentially tease the Tacoma for first place in the coming years if the new generation is particularly well received by rental car companies that account for a significant share of all Wrangler sales in Hawaii. The Wrangler is the only U.S. nameplate in Hawaii’s Top 10 this year, a situation shared with 6 other States: the District of Columbia where the only U.S. model is the Chevrolet Malibu at #10, Rhode Island (Jeep Grand Cherokee $8), Maryland (Ford F-150 #5), Connecticut (Jeep Grand Cherokee #5), Washington (Ford F-150 #3) and Oregon (Ford F-150 #3).

Hawaii is the only State where the Toyota 4Runner ranks inside the podium.

In third place we have another nameplate that hits its highest ranking anywhere in the U.S.: the Toyota 4Runner, up a stunning 25% to land on the podium for the first time after ranking #4 in 2016 (+30%) and #7 in 2015. Its next best ranking is #5 in Colorado. Interestingly, the recent success of the 4Runner seems to have penalised the smaller and less capable RAV4, ousted from the Top 10 for 2017 and making Hawaii one of just three States where the RAV4 isn’t among the 10 best-sellers this year alongside Michigan and Oklahoma. The best-selling passenger car is the Toyota Corolla, overtaking the Nissan Altima (+1%) thanks to deliveries soaring 21% in contrast with its national performance (-11%).

Previous post: Hawaii (USA) Full Year 2015: Toyota Tacoma upholds decades-long reign

Full Year 2017 Top 10 models ranking vs. Full Year 2015 and 2016 figures below.

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