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Auto sales start slow recovery

Automobile sales in the Mahoning Valley started to rebound last month after a dismal April brought on by the viral outbreak, but there’s still a lot of ground to cover to catch up to numbers dealers posted this time last year.

Sales were off 20 percent in May from last year with 4,043 deliveries, nearly 1,000 less than dealers made in May 2019, according to the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association.

But, that’s almost double the 2,296 deliveries in April, the first full month the impact of the outbreak could be seen on the industry.

May marks the third consecutive monthly decline dealers in Trumbull and Mahoning counties have experienced as they continue their slow crawl back to numbers that were on pace to eclipse 2019 in the first two months of the year.

So far for the year, sales are down 19 percent, from 24,321 in the first five months of 2019 to 19,686 for the same period this year.

New car sales fell 25 percent in May to 2,120 from 2,826 last year. And used car sales fell 13 percent to 1,836 from 2,107.

For the five-month period, sales of new cars are down 23 percent to 10,278 from 13,423, and used cars, 14.5 percent to 8,921 from 10,446.

Across the 21 northern Ohio counties in the dealers’ association, sales of new vehicles fell 22.5 percent for the month and 13 percent compared to 2019.

There were 16,421 deliveries last month from 21,200 in May 2019.

“May was a month of slow economic recovery with businesses opening and employees returning to work mid-month,” said Louis A. Vitantonio, dealers’ association president.

And while not as dramatic as last month, consumers kept trucks and SUVs in high demand with the sales from the top two brands — Chevrolet and Ford — better than cars.

Dealerships in Trumbull County with the most sales were Klaben Ford Lincoln of Warren, 112; Sims Buick GMC Truck, 103; and Diane Sauer Chevrolet, 76.

The top new vehicle sellers were Klaben, 65; Sims, 62; and Mark Thomas Ford, 46.

The top used vehicle sellers were Klaben, 47; Cole Valley, 44; and Sims, 41.

The top overall seller in the Mahoning Valley in May was Boardman Subaru with 228 deliveries.

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