LIBERTY -- Car sales in the Mahoning Valley were up 9 percent last month, but this year's pace still trails the blistering pace set in early 2000.
Sales of new and used vehicles in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties last month totaled 5,808, compared with 5,323 in April 2000.
Of last month's total, 3,216 were new vehicles and 2,592 were used vehicles.
Sales for the first four months of this year were 19,426, which was 18 percent off the total sold in the first four months of last year.
Steve Chos, executive vice president of the Automobile Dealers Association of Eastern Ohio, said sales were extremely strong in the first three months of last year because the economy was going strong.
The downturn in the economy started in April 2000 so car sales slowed that month and continued to be slow for the rest of the year.
"This year, hopefully the reverse is true," he said.
In Mahoning County, Youngstown Buick Pontiac GMC had the highest sales with 412 vehicles. New vehicle sales totaled 251.
In Trumbull County, Martin Chevrolet had the highest sales with 279 vehicles. New vehicle sales totaled 157.
In Columbiana County, Stadium GM Superstore had the highest sales with 302 vehicles. New vehicle sales totaled 192.