Local auto dealers say you may have trouble finding exactly what you want, but it's a great time to buy a new vehicle.
"Right now the incentives are so strong to buy a new car," Greg Sloan, general sales manager at Five Star Suzuki, Altoona, said. "People think if they wait until the end of the model year they may get a better deal, but there won't be anything left."
Detroit auto makers posted another month of double-digit sales gains in June.
Chrysler Group LLC improved the most among the U.S. trio, up 30 percent to 120,394 cars and trucks - its best June since 2007.
Ford Motor Co., riding the success of its Focus and Fusion models, came in with a 13.6 percent rise to 194,114 vehicles.
General Motors reported a 10.2 percent improvement in U.S. June sales to 215,358 vehicles, up from 195,380 a year ago.
Passenger cars, buoyed by the Chevrolet Cruze, paced the gains with a 28 percent surge from June 2010.
The Cruze and Hyundai Elantra - whose sales increased 92.3 percent from May 2010 to May 2011 - have been hot sellers at Dean Patterson Chevrolet Cadillac Mazda Hyundai, Altoona.
"The Cruze is very popular. They are hard to find. You can't get enough of them to satisfy the needs," Tim Edmundson, sales manager, said. "If we get one [Elantra], it doesn't last two days. They are selling before they even get here."
Sales have been strong at Stuckey Ford, Hollidaysburg.
"We sold out of [new] cars last month. Our challenge is to meet the demand, but that is a good problem," said Matt Stuckey, president.
Meanwhile, Honda Motor Co. saw sales drop by more than 21 percent in June. Honda production was slowed following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
"What we have run into is the availability is not what we would like it to be," Ken Lingenfelter, general manager, said.
However, Honda recently announced plans for accelerated auto production in North American plants.
Despite the recent drop in gasoline prices, fuel-efficient vehicles remain popular sellers.
"People are looking for fuel-efficient vehicles in small and mid-sizes," Edmundson said. "They are looking for those that get 40 miles per gallon."
"People are looking for fuel economy and value," Sloan said. "The bulk of our business is small cars and SUVs. That is what we have been selling - fuel economy."
Not everyone is looking for a small, fuel-efficient vehicle, though, as pickup trucks are still selling.
"Ford had a Ranger promotion, which spurred a lot of sales of Rangers. We still have people buying trucks and SUVs," Bob Bradley, sales manager at Courtesy Ford Kia, Altoona, said.
"People have pent-up demand. They have put off buying for two or three years and it is time for them to buy something."
Bob Zeigler, owner of Zeigler Chevrolet, Claysburg, is seeing the same trend.
"Out here, people still want trucks as well as small cars. Full-size pickup trucks are as popular as the cars that get 40 mpg," Zeigler said. "People in this area still like their trucks, and as long as gas stays under $4 a gallon, they will buy them."
Courtesy Chrysler Dodge Jeep Nissan, Altoona, is selling "a little bit of everything," Jim Hetrick, sales manager, said.
"We are doing very well on both the Chrysler and Nissan side. In this area we sell a lot of four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles. Jeep Patriot and Compass are doing well; they are four cylinder and there is a demand for four cylinder. The Nissan Altima is also doing well," Hetrick said.
Dealers said customers should consider looking for a new vehicle rather than a used one.
Bradley noted that used car prices are going up, and for just a little more money, customers can get something brand new.
"Used car prices are high. If you are thinking about trading for a late model used car, you may also want to look at a new one, especially if you are looking at a 2008 or 2009," Hetrick said. "You may be able to get a new one with better financing."
Because inventories are lower than usual at many dealers, customers need to be patient and flexible.
"You need to be willing to compromise on your color and equipment choices. Sometimes what they want we can't get. It gets frustrating both for the customer and for us," Bradley said. "If they are flexible in their color and equipment choices, they have a better chance to get a new vehicle."