Northeast Ohio new vehicle sales continued to do better than a year ago despite horrid winter weather that probably caused more people to shovel snow than kick tires at dealerships.
March sales, as well as totals for the first three months of the year, grew from 2013 levels, the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association reported.
Meanwhile, Summit County new vehicle sales fell slightly in March from a year ago but first-quarter sales were ahead of the same period in 2013, according to the Northeast Ohio Automobile Dealers Association.
March new car and light truck sales totaled 21,148 in a 21-county region of Northeast Ohio, the Cleveland dealers group reported. That’s up 2.7 percent from 20,586 for March 2013.
Truck and SUV sales were up 16.6 percent from a year ago and are up 10 percent since January from a year ago, the association said.
“While the tough winter didn’t slow overall sales, it did have an impact on the kinds of vehicles consumers purchased,” Lou Vitantonio, president of the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ association, said in a news release. “We anticipate a much stronger month in April for car sales as the weather begins to turn.”
Sales for the first quarter of 2012 totaled 53,809 in the region, up 2.7 percent from 52,373 for the same three-month period in 2013.
New vehicle sales in Summit County in March were 2,110, down five from 2,115 a year ago, the Northeast Ohio Automobile Dealers reported. (March sales in the association’s multicounty area were up from a year ago.)
For the first three months of 2014, Summit County sales totaled 5,414, up half a percent from 5,389 for the same period a year ago.
“We had a little bit of a dip, maybe because we had such a lousy winter. Nobody wants to go out in the weather,” said Terry Metcalf, executive vice president for the Northeast Ohio dealers group.
Sales picked up strongly in the last six weeks, he said.
“Dealers are still investing money, lots of construction projects,” Metcalf said. “These guys put a lot of money into their buildings and their businesses.”
That bodes well for the local economy, he said.
Summit County used vehicle sales in March totaled 3,617, up from 3,488 a year ago. Sales in the first quarter of 2014 were 8,919, up 5 percent from 8,521 for the first three months of 2013.
The best-selling new vehicle in Summit County last month was the Ford Escape, with 73 models sold, down 5 from a year ago, the Northeast Ohio Automobile Dealers Association reported.
The Honda CR-V was the second best-selling vehicle in the county at 56, followed by the Ford Focus and Dodge Ram Pickup 1500, both tied for third with 55 sales apiece. Dodge Ram 1500 pickup sales were up 266.7 percent from 15 a year ago.
Ford was the best-selling brand in March in the group’s 21-county region with 3,734 vehicles sold. Chevrolet was second with 3,290, and Toyota was third at 1,683.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or email@example.com.