August was good month for GM in Valley
By Burton Speakman
General Motors had a good month locally as the company’s models swept the top five spots for most new vehicles sold, and dealerships selling GM products made up more than half of the top five.
“GM is proof that new products and effective marketing can — and do — drive sales,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for Edmunds.com, an automotive information site. “Chevrolet sales were helped by a continued strong performance of the Sonic, a good start to the Spark, record sales of Volt and the venerable Equinox.”
The Equinox was the best- selling new car at dealerships in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties, according to the Automotive Dealers Association of Eastern Ohio (ADAEO).
GM typically has been the dominant car company is this area because the community has a connection to the company through the Lordstown plant and Delphi, said Steve Chos, executive vice president. The past few months have been unusual with Chrysler, Honda and Kia all ranked at times in the top-five dealerships for new-car sales.
GM had a larger share of area sales five or six years ago when Delphi still had a larger number of employees in the area, Chos said.
The Mahoning Valley did not match the national trends for the month of August where consumers primarily chose either small cars or large trucks, said Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence for TrueCar.com, an automotive-information site.
This area typically does not match national trends, Chos said.
The Lordstown-built Cruze was tied as third- most-bought new vehicle in the area, despite having its best selling month ever. The vehicle was the top seller in the area when it first was released, he said.
“Those numbers were bound to go down, because there were so many people who splurged when they first came out,” Chos said.
The sale of new cars continues to lag behind the 2011 pace. Through the end of August, 16,514 new cars were sold, which is 970 fewer than in 2011, according to ADAEO figures. New-car sales also were down for the August by 108 with 2,333.
Combined new- and used-car sales are increasing. Total sales for the three counties are up by 100 on the year to 45,133. During August, 72 more cars were sold in the area, 6,039, compared with last August, according to ADAEO.
“Car sales are starting to come back after being down most of the year,” Chos said. “Our numbers are starting to creep back up.”