Local new car sales lag behind 2011 pace

Staff report


New-vehicles sales at area Chrysler dealerships are one of the bright spots in a year where overall purchases are down compared to 2011.

Sales of new vehicles in the Mahoning Valley continue to lag behind the 2011 pace. In November, 53 fewer vehicles were purchased than in November 2011, according to figures from the Automobile Dealers Association of Eastern Ohio.

For the year, new-vehicle sales in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties are down by 1,074 headed into the last month of the year.

The area’s top dealer in terms of new-car sales in November was Bob & Chuck Eddy Chrysler Dodge Jeep. The Austintown dealership also is one of the few in the area where sales increased in 2012 compared with 2011.

The dealership has sold 175 more cars through November than it did during the same time in 2011.

A combination of vehicle quality and the incentives being offered by Chrysler are helping the company with increased sales, said Mike Friend, general sales manager at Bob & Chuck Eddy Chrysler Dodge Jeep.

Other area Chrysler dealerships — Columbiana Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Salem Chrysler Dodge Jeep — have seen their sales increase by 124 and 102, respectively, according to ADAEO figures.

“The product has really gotten better over the last couple of years, and the company is giving us some great deals,” Friend said.

It’s possible that other dealerships are being hurt locally by reducing their incentives, he added.

“They might not be able to give people as good a deal as they could in the past,” Friend said.

For example, though both Ford and GM marginally decreased the discount percentage on large trucks compared with last year in November, Chrysler/Ram more than doubled its discount on trucks, from 9.3 percent in November 2011 to 18.7 percent in November 2012, according to Edmunds.com, an automotive-information website.

The Chevrolet Cruze remained the area’s top-selling new vehicle. Ninety Cruzes were purchased in November from Valley dealerships. Through November, however, 649 fewer Cruzes were sold in the Mahoning Valley compared with the same time last year.

The remainder of the five most-sold new vehicles in the Valley were Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 73; Chevrolet Equinox, 67; Honda Civic, 61; and Ford F-150, 59.

In addition, for the first time in 2012, when new- and used-vehicles sales are considered, the Valley fell behind the 2011 pace.

In November, total vehicle sales were down by 122, which brings the total for the year down by 15 through the end of last month.

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