Auto dealer licenses are issued by the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Professional and Vocational Licensing Division. You can call them with any questions you have throughout the process at (808) 586-3000.
Determine Which Type of License You Need:
- New Vehicle
- Used/MTC/Scooter (including new motorcycles)
Obtain a Permanent Business Location
To do this, you’ll have to perform the following tasks:
- Confirm that your location complies with your local county regulations.
- Create a self-inspection report, including a written description of the premises and a drawing of the premises showing measurements of all facilities, the boundaries of the proposed premises, the location of the office, sanitation facilities and your display stalls.
- Attach photographs of the proposed premises, including your building's display area (there must be a minimum of three display stalls allowing the display of at least three vehicles), your office (inside and out), and sanitation facilities.
- Attach a copy of your lease or rental agreement. It must be valid for at least one year from the date the application is submitted.
Compile the Required Documents
You’ll need to prepare the following documents to include with your application:
- A current financial statement (less than one year old) prepared and signed by a public or certified public accountant.
- If you’re using a trade name, you’ll need a current "filed-stamp" copy of the Application for Registration of Trade Name approved by the state Business Registration Division.
- You’ll need a list of the names and license numbers of all currently licensed motor vehicle salespersons who will be employed. If they are presently with another employer, submit completed transfer forms and $10 for each, or if not licensed, attach a completed motor vehicle salesperson application and fee.
For Corporations, Partnerships, LLCs, and LLPs
If your company has been registered for less than a year, attach a filed-stamped copy of the registration document you previously filed with BREG; or your Certificate of Qualification. However, if your company has been registered in Hawaii for more than one year, simply attach a current Certificate of Good Standing.
For New Franchise Dealers
Attach an executed copy of the Dealer's Sales and Service Agreement from the manufacturer or distributor showing that you’re authorized to sell or distribute their new motor vehicles in the state.
For New Dealerships with Repair Facilities
Repair dealers must be registered with the Motor Vehicle Repair Industry Board. If you have no repair facilities of your own and will be having your work done by a reputable garage, attach a signed certification letter from the garage.
Obtain a Line of Credit or Surety Bond
You’re required to obtain a line of credit, and if that cannot reasonably be obtained, a surety bond.
To get a line of credit, you must obtain an inventory or flooring line of credit from a federally insured financial institution, or from a financing source with a net worth of at least $50 million.
Then, attach a copy of the financing statement (UCC-1) or security agreement filed at the Bureau of Conveyances, State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources, securing the line of credit along with your letter of credit.
- New Vehicle Dealers require $500,000 or the amount required in applicant's Dealer Sales and Service Agreement, whichever is less.
- Used Vehicle Dealer or Motorcycle-Scooter Dealers require $50,000.
If you can’t obtain a line of credit, you’ll need to obtain a surety bond.
Bond Amount Required:
- A $200,000 bond is required for new vehicle dealers selling 10 or more new motor vehicle units a month on an annual basis.
- A $50,000 bond is required for new vehicle dealers selling less than 10 new motor vehicle units per month on an annual basis.
- A $100,000 bond is required for used motor vehicle dealers selling 60 or more motor vehicle units per month on an annual basis.
- A $25,000 bond is required for used motor vehicle dealers selling less than 60 units a month on an annual basis.
- A $10,000 bond is required for motorcycle and motor scooter dealers.
The cost of an auto dealer bond is a small percentage of the total bond amount. The bond cost varies depending on your financial strength, e.g. personal credit. You can also take a look at our most frequently asked surety bond questions.
- Fill out our online application form to obtain a free bond quote for your auto dealer license. It takes 5 minutes and you will be able to lock your rate for the next 90 days (in case you want to purchase the bond).
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Submit Your Dealer License Application
Fill out and submit the application form, which is available here along with a detailed guide.
Fee: License fees vary. You can find an explanation of the fee schedule on page 4 of the state’s guide. You can attach a check made payable to “Commerce and Consumer Affairs,” to your application.
You can mail your application to: Motor Vehicle Industry Licensing Board DCCA, PVL Licensing Branch P.O. Box 3469 Honolulu, HI 96801
You can also deliver it in person to: 335 Merchant St., Room 301 Honolulu, HI 96813 Phone: (808) 586-3000