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Car and Truck Sales Likely Improving

Though official sales numbers likely won’t be released until later this week, it looks like June car and truck sales have rebounded after an ominous dip in May. Analysts expect sales reports for June 2011 to be better than both May 2011 and June 2010, as the industry sheds the effects of Japan’s March earthquake and sky-high gas prices.

Though May sales slumped by about 3.7 percent from April 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal. J.D. Power predicts that June numbers will improve, led by large pickups and compact cars. This upturn is likely supported by decreasing gas prices, improving employment numbers and Japan’s recovery from the March earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.

“Earthquake-related shortages continue to hurt the Japanese automakers, although analysts say the impact hasn't been as severe as once thought,” reports The Detroit News. Toyota, one of the automakers hit the hardest by the disasters, expects its North American production to return to full power by September, according to CBS News.

So what does this mean for July car shoppers? Paul Taylor, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association, says, “Lower gasoline prices, wider availability of credit and new-car inventory rebuilding over the summer months will provide car shoppers with more spendable income and instill confidence to get out and buy a car or truck that meets their household needs,” according to The Detroit News. Though inventory is improving, more buyers in the market might mean that dealers will run out of high-demand models more quickly. If you’re one of the many looking to buy a popular car like the Ford Fiesta, you should head to your dealer early in the month to get your spot in line.

Additionally, lower gas prices will soften the market for fuel-efficient compact cars, so July and August might be good times to buy that Honda CR-Z or Hyundai Elantra you’ve had your eye on. Finally,  an improved new car market means that used car prices, which were extremely high this spring, will drop down to a more normal level. So, though your used car might not sell for as much as it would have in April, buying a used car in July might be easier on your wallet.

Shopping for a new or used car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new Honda by checking out this month’s best car deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter.

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