In Miami, the wait for a Mini Cooper can be weeks.

At East Coast Toyota in Wood Ridge, N.J., tiny Scion cars are sold even before they are unloaded from the carrier.

“There’s a six-week waiting list for the Scion tC,” said John Dee, sales manager at the Toyota store, one of the largest in the Northeast.

And in many U.S. showrooms, the Pontiac Solstice, Chevrolet HHR, BMW 6 series and Ford Fusion run in short supply.

Consumers can choose from over 300 car and truck models, and with product development cycles shrinking to 18 to 24 months, the rate at which a new vehicle sells has become a monitor of a model’s appeal and staying power. Fast sellers are good news not only for automakers but also for dealers, whose finance and insurance charges increase the longer a vehicle goes unsold.

The average car or truck is selling in 58 days this year, up from 54 days in the fourth quarter, but down from 66 days a year ago.

The hottest sellers are the redesigned Lexus IS sedan, Toyota Prius and the Scion tC. They all are spending fewer than 15 days on dealer lots before being sold, according to national sales activity tracked through the first eight weeks of 2006 by J.D. Power and Associates’ Power Information Network.

At the other end of the spectrum are the sporty Chrysler Crossfire, Mitsubishi Endeavor SUV and Hyundai Santa Fe, along with many discontinued models such as the Buick Park Avenue, Ford Thunderbird, Pontiac Grand Am and Lincoln Aviator.

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