2/28/08

Non-union auto makers excel

Ford and General Motors vehicles garnered more than a third of the Lemon Law complaints lodged by Hawaii consumers in 2007 -- double their local market share. Toyota, which commands 30 percent of the Hawaii market, and Honda, second with 14.5 percent, both saw considerably fewer complaints than their market share.

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, which released the data yesterday, said Hawaii's Lemon Law program helped consumers obtain replacement vehicles and refunds totaling more than $490,000 last year stemming from 66 complaints.

The year before, the agency handled 71 complaints, recovering more than $1 million; in 2005 there were 80 complaints and $919,000 recovered.

Market share figures are for new retail cars and light trucks registered in Hawaii in 2007 as reported in the Hawaii Auto Outlook, a trade publication of the Hawaii Auto Dealers Association.

The two American manufacturers each received 12 complaints, or 18.2 percent of the total 66 complaints received. The figures were more than double Ford's market share of 8.9 percent and GM's market share of 8.8 percent.

Toyota, with 17,944 newly registered vehicles, and Honda, with 8,644 vehicles, each had only five complaints, or 7.6 percent of the complaints received. Four of the five Toyota complaints were later withdrawn.

Other manufacturers that received a double-digit percentage of complaints compared to the 66 received were Nissan, with 13.6 percent of the complaints and 12.8 percent of the market, and Chrysler, with 12.1 percent of the complaints with 6.1 percent of the market.

Lemon law statistics are compiled annually by the State Certified Arbitration Program staff to assist consumers and manufacturers. More information can be found at www.hawaii.gov/ dcaa/rico.

(starbulletin.com)

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