PUHI — Aloha Auto Group, Ltd., is planning to break ground for its new KIA of Kaua‘i showroom in Puhi within 45 days, with completion expected early next year. The parcel is visible from Nuhou Road next to the KEO Learning Center.
The fact that there are four major auto centers on the island of 67,000, coupled with having a soft economy are not enough to discourage Aloha Auto.
“I don’t know if there’s a good time for anything. You have to be positive,” said Aloha Auto president and CEO William van den Hurk, who waited six years after the property was purchased before this decision was made.
When completed, total investment will be $1.7 million for the 6,000-square-foot building and the 30,000-square-foot land on which it will be built, said van den Hurk.
Positive statistics for the Korean-origin brand helps, he said. “KIA is the fastest growing franchise in the world. It’s had its 17th quarter increase. There’s not enough product.” Models to look for are the Otpima and the Sorrento SUV, he said.
He said they realized there was a market for KIA when Kaua‘i customers were coming to their dealerships on Oahu. The O‘ahu-based company owns four other KIA dealerships, including two on O‘ahu, one on Maui and one on the Big Island.
The Puhi property was originally planned as a warehouse for rental bikes and storage, said van den Hurk. Aloha Auto owns the Kaua‘i Harley-Davidson store in Puhi as well as the parcel on which sits the discount gas station leased by Senter Petroleum at the entry of Puhi Industrial Park.
The company plans to hire local building contractor C.R. Design Construction which would employ eight workers, as well as a local solar installer, said Hurk. When the “green” showroom opens, they expect to employ 15.