Kihei Rent A Car Celebrates 23rd Anniversary with “Mahalo Celebration”

May 28, 2013, 11:45 AM HST · Updated May 28, 12:16 PM
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Sugar and Dave Hunkins, owners of Kihei Rent A Car. Courtesy photo.

Sugar and Dave Hunkins, owners of Kihei Rent A Car. Courtesy photo.

By Sonia Isotov

On Saturday, June 1, Kihei Rent A Car will celebrate its 23rd anniversary by hosting a “Mahalo Celebration” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at their location on 96 Kio Loop in Kihei.

“We have so many things to be thankful for that we agreed to have a party. We want everyone to stop in for some pupus and a cold drink,” said Dave Hunkins, owner of Kihei Rent A Car, a family-owned and operated rental service company.

Hunkins started Kihei Rent A Car with a kiosk and 26 cars in 1990, and today, Hunkins said that annual sales will exceed $3 million this year, and the company has weathered tough economic challenges over the years, including Hurricane Iniki, the Gulf War, September 11th, and the economic recession beginning in 2008.

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“But thanks to their loyal customers and word of mouth business from the community, Kihei Rent A Car has been able to continuously employ over 20 Mauians and has never had to lay anyone off due to decreased business.”

Kihei Rent A Car "the shack" in 1990 when it first opened. Courtey photo.

Kihei Rent A Car “the shack” in 1990 when it first opened. Courtesy photo.

One of the business strategies that the company has utilized over the years is to standardize the type of car that they rent to the 4-door Nissan Sentra. “We only rent that make and model to this day,” said Hunkins. “We now have  375 vehicles of  which over 300 are the Nissan Sentras plus Jeep Wranglers, 7-passenger vans and pickup trucks, along with shuttle vans service vehicles.”

Hunkins also said that a key strategy to their success was “a passion to give the best service at the lowest price. We only have about 2% of the total rental vehicles on Maui and as they get older they are the favorites of the local residents and the cost-conscious visitors.”

“There have been several mergers  in the car rental industry on Maui recently which leaves only three ‘big guys’ and very few independents like ourselves. The future looks good on Maui for us as long as we stick to our business plan.”

In addition to renting cars, the family also races them. Apparently, when a rental car gets totaled, they “recycle” it by fixing it up for racing or demolition derby.

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