The new year has started off on a high note for Northeast Ohio car dealers — sales for January were way up compared to a year ago.
And the Cleveland Auto Show, considered the kickoff for the spring car selling season, opens to the public on Saturday at the I-X Center next to Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
The Ford Escape small SUV clung — barely — to the top-selling spot last month for new vehicle sales in Summit County, according to figures from the Akron-based Northeast Ohio Auto Dealers Association. There were 63 new Escapes sold last month, down 11.3 percent from 71 in January 2012.
Another Ford model roared into the second spot. Sales of the F-150 pickup truck last month in Summit County hit 62, up 82.4 percent from 34 a year ago. The Ford truck offers an optional EcoBoost turbocharged engine that’s made in Brook Park.
The Hyundai Sonata was the county’s third best-selling vehicle, with 61 sold last month, up 60.5 percent from 38 a year ago.
All told, there were 1,902 new cars and light trucks sold in Summit County in January, an increase of 315, or 19.8 percent, from January 2012, according to the Northeast Ohio dealers group.
Sales were also strong in the 21-county Northeast Ohio region that makes up the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers Association.
Sales of new cars and light trucks in January hit 18,455, up 14.9 percent from 16,062 in January 2012, the association reported.
“We expect continued growth through the end of the winter leading up to the Cleveland Auto Show,” Lou Vitantonio, association president, said in a statement. The dealers group sponsors the annual car show, which runs through March 3.
Car show hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.
Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $10.50 for seniors and pre-teens. Children 6 and younger are free. Parking is free. Information is available online at www.clevelandautoshow.com.
February car sales figures are expected to be available in the second week of March.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.