broke another record in 2016 for most vehicles sold — the seventh straight year sales have gone up. Earlier today I talked with two Austintown dealers — who both said it was a great year for them, too. Another year of strong vehicle sales is new at 10. Greenwood Chevrolet and Fred Martin Ford are neighbors on Mahoning Avenue in Austintown. “IT WAS A PHENOMINAL YEAR HERE AT GREENWOOD FOR CAR SALES.” “ONE OF THE BEST WE EVER HAD.” Fred Martin has been selling Fords for 45 years. He remembers the day when more cars were sold than trucks. But it’s not like that anymore. “WE WENT USUALLY 60 PERCENT CARS, 40 PERCENT TRUCKS, BUT NOW IT’S EXACTLY THE OTHER WAY.” Year end figures show sales of Ford cars were down 13 perccent — while SUV’s were up 4.9 percent – and trucks 6.5 percent. The F-series pick ups were by far Ford best selling vehicles — selling 500-thousand more than the second best Escape SUV. “THE ECONOMY WAS SOLID, PEOPLE WERE WORKING, THEY’RE PRETTY OPTIMISTIC. INTEREST RATES WERE VERY LOW, GAS PRICES VERY LOW.” At Greenwood Chevrolet — people were also buying more trucks and SUV’s. In fact — one of the hottest cars on the lot right now is the crossover Chevy Equinox. “MID YEAR, WITH GAS PRICES BEING SO LOW FOR SO LONG, WE STARTED SEEING THE CHEVROLET EQUINIX REALLY, REALLY CATCH ON FIRE LOCALLY, NOT ONLY FOR US BUT FOR OTHER CHEVY DEALERS. WAS IT YOUR NUMBER ONE SELLER? IT ENDED UP BEING OUR NUMBER ONE SELLER FOR THE YEAR. RIGHT BEHIND IT LOCALLY WAS THE CHEVY CRUZE.” GM’s number one best selling vehicle, however, was the Silverado Pick Up — selling more about double that of the number two Equinox. Looking ahead to next year — both Martin and Greenwood are optimistic. “GAS PRICES EVEN IF THEY GO UP ARE LOW. AND OVERALL WE’RE PRETTY OPTIMISTIC THAT 2017 IS GOING TO BE ANOTHER GREAT YEAR.” “WE ARE CONCERNED THAT THE GASOLINE PRICES MAY GO UP SOME. BUT OVERALL WE THINK IT’LL BE A BANNER YEAR.” Sales figures — both year end and for December — were also announced today for the Lordstown built Chevy Cruze. They were up in December but down for the year. . 17-thousand-324 Cruzes were sold in December — an increase of 2.8 percent over December of last year. But the year end figures were no where close to last year. 188-thousand-876 Cruzes were sold in 2016 — a drop of 16.6 percent from 2015.