New vehicle sales in Northeast Ohio got off to a strong start this year.

January sales rose 5 percent from a year ago, the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association reports.

There were 21,299 new vehicles sold last month compared to 20,280 a year ago in a 21-county region of Northern Ohio.

“While the numbers are encouraging, you have to remember that we are going up against a weak January last year,” Louis A. Vitantonio, association president, said in a news release. “The best news is that the numbers are comparable to January of 2017, which started off a very strong year in terms of overall sales.

With the Cleveland Auto Show opening in a few weeks, the association expects strong sales this month through the middle of April and beyond, Vitantonio said.

The show opens Feb. 22 at the I-X Center and runs through March 3.

New car sales rose by 2.4 percent compared to January 2018, while truck and SUV sales rose 8.1 percent from a year ago.

Summit County new vehicle sales dropped 2.7 percent in January compared to a year ago, the Northeast Ohio Automobile Dealers Association reported. There were 2,034 new vehicles sold in the county last month compared to 2,091 a year ago.

Used vehicle sales rose last month in Summit County, with 2,940 vehicles sold compared to 2,904 in January 2018, the Akron-based Northeast Ohio dealers association reported.

Chevrolet was January’s best-selling brand in Northeast Ohio with 3,285 new vehicles sold, followed by Ford with 3,140 new vehicle sales, the Cleveland dealers’ group reported. Honda was the third place best-selling brand with 1,875 vehicles.

The Cleveland dealers’ group also said that sales of large commercial, or Class 8, trucks were strong. Rising commercial truck sales can indicate future economic strength in what is called the “Big Rig Index,” the association said.