With all major automakers reporting their figures, auto sales in 2014 are up about 6 percent over 2013 for a grand total of around 16.5 million cars. That would be the auto industry's best year since 2006 or 2005, depending on final totals for 2014 from smaller automakers.
The Ford F-Series' 753,851 sales for the year put the truck atop the industry's new-car sales ladder for the umpteenth time, which should surprise no one. What's more interesting is the timing of it. The F-150 accounts for roughly two-thirds of F-Series sales in any given year, and F-Series sales slipped 1.3 percent in 2014. But that came with scant sales from the redesigned 2015 F-150 — meaning somewhere around 500,000 F-Series sales in 2014 were from the old F-150. It's a testament to the truck's popularity, as those shoppers didn't exactly come for the deals. For most months in 2014, year-over-year cash incentives on the F-Series stayed roughly equivalent to their year-before levels.
Helped by a strong construction market and sliding gas prices in the second half of 2014, full-size pickups had a strong year. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Ram pickup and GM's Chevrolet Silverado each saw double-digit sales gains, though shoppers found relatively more incentives on both trucks in 2014 versus 2013. We'll see how the new F-150 affects F-Series sales in 2015 and if FCA and GM ratchet up the deals to keep pace.
Pickups aside, ballooning SUV sales late in the year didn't knock sedans off their perch in 2014. Consumers shopped a familiar cadre of nameplates: the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla — all among the top 10 best-sellers in 2012 and 2013 — made the list again in 2014.
The Honda CR-V repeated its status, while the Ford Fusion was the lone newcomer, replacing 2013's 10th-place Escape. That means, despite all the virtual ink spilled over gas prices and SUV/truck sales, the top 10 best-sellers in 2014 had one fewer SUV than they did in 2013. Will that continue into 2015? Stay tuned.
See the top 10 best-sellers below, and click here to see 2013's list.
Cars.com photo by Evan Sears