Utah's new car and truck sales dropped during the first three months of 1998, but used vehicle sales stayed hot, according to a report from the Utah State Tax Commission.

The report said the state's dealers sold 18,845 new cars and trucks in the first quarter, down 4.7 percent from the 19,767 sold during the first quarter of 1997. The latest figures also fall 5.9 percent lower than the 20,027 sold between January and March of 1996.Nationally, new car and truck sales declined 1 percent in the first quarter, the commission's report said.

Sales of new cars in the first quarter were down 4.9 percent to 8,146 from 8,563 in the first three months of last year.

At the local level, Utah County new car sales increased 1.6 percent as 679 of the vehicles moved off dealer lots. Salt Lake County new car sales fell 1.7 percent in the quarter when compared to 1997, while Davis County sales fell 4.5 percent and Weber County sales dropped 9.7 percent.

In Salt Lake County, Larry H. Miller's eight car dealerships sold 726 new cars during the first quarter, compared to 502 for Ken Garff's two shops and 331 for Mark Miller's three locations.

Rick Warner's three dealerships topped Utah County with 264 total new car sales in the quarter.

For new trucks, Utah figures were down 4.5 percent in the first quarter with 10,699 sales, compared to a national sales increase of 5.1 percent.

Along the Wasatch Front, Utah County again led the way with a 10 percent increase in new truck sales. Sales of new trucks in Davis, Salt Lake and Weber counties fell 3.2 percent, 10.9 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.

Larry H. Miller's eight Salt Lake County locations sold a total of 524 new trucks, while three Garff locations sold 307. The Warner Super Ford Store/Truckland alone moved 456 new trucks off its lot between January and March.

Utah's used vehicle market was even stronger, with dealers selling 21,775 used cars and 13,671 used trucks during the first quarter. Those figures translate into sales increases of 2.3 percent for cars and 2.4 percent for trucks over the previous year.

Along the Wasatch Front, dealers in Salt Lake County sold 9,388 used cars and 5,290 used trucks during the first quarter. Davis County dealers sold 2,423 used cars and 1,451 used trucks, Utah County came in with 3,147 used cars and 1,794 used trucks sold and Weber County dealers sold 2,043 used cars and 1,385 used trucks.