WARREN - Car buyers were spending money in March, but it wasn't on used cars.
Auto dealers in the tri-county area saw new car sales jump nearly 10 percent in March over March 2012. By comparison, used car sales dropped 6.4 percent combined in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties during the period
According to figures released Friday by the Automobile Dealers Association of Eastern Ohio, new car buyers in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties took delivery on 2,577 vehicles in March, compared to 2,344 in March 2012. Mahoning County saw the biggest new car sales increase of 18.1 percent.
On the year, new car sales in the tri-county area were up 16 percent. Used car sales were down 3 percent overall on the year.
Top seller for the month was Greenwood Chevrolet in Austintown, which sold 205 new cars, up 46 percent over March 2012. In second place was Sweeney Chevrolet in Boardman, with 198 sales, a whopping 87 percent increase over the dealership's March 2012 sales of 106. Bob & Chuck Eddy Chrysler Dodge Jeep sold 112 new vehicles, a 7 percent increase over the same period last year. Taylor Kia of Boardman showed the only decrease in the top five, but still ranked fourth with 104 sales. Last year at this time the dealership had sold 45 more vehicles at 149.
Diane Sauer Chevrolet ranked highest among Trumbull County dealers, selling 94 new cars in March, up 11 percent over last year. Second and third in Trumbull County was Sims Buick GMC Nissan with 76, up 25 percent, and Greenwood in Hubbard with 74, up 12 percent over last year.
Top Mahoning dealerships
Greenwood Chevrolet, Austintown
Sweeney Chevrolet, Boardman
Bob & Chuck Eddy Chrysler Dodge Jeep, Austintown
Top Trumbull dealerships
Diane Sauer Chevrolet, Warren
Sims Buick GMC Nissan, Warren
Greenwood Chevrolet, Hubbard
March used car sales slipped 6.1 percent in Mahoning County, but grew about 5 percent in Trumbull County. Top used car dealership for March was Greenwood Chevy in Austintown with 168, up nearly 30 percent over last year.
Top used car dealership for Trumbull County was Greenwood in Hubbard, selling 81 vehicles, 21 percent more than last year.
Four of the top five new models sold in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana were under the Chevrolet brand.
Malibu led new car purchases with 230, up 19 percent over last March. Buyers took delivery on 220 Equinoxes, up more than 144 percent over the previous year, and third place went to the Lordstown-built Chevy Cruze with 173, up 2 percent. Full-size Chevy pickup Silverado 1500 held fourth place with 128 sold, beating out domestic competitor Ford F-150 at 89.