Now that the public's attention is firmly on 2015, it's time to take a look back at the past 12 months in the auto industry. It was a good year for new car sales, for instance, as analysts expect that the final sales figures will approach 16.4 million new vehicles sold
. That would be the best year since the recession started - and the positivity was felt all around the industry.
Trucks reign supreme
According to AutoTrader, 2014 was a big year for trucks and large SUVs. The Ford F-150 was the most popular new purchase
for the second year in a row. Popularity for the most recent model surged thanks to a highly touted new design, which included a lightweight aluminum frame with improved fuel efficiency, allowing the F-series to beat out the second-place Chevrolet Silverado 1500. Those two vehicles were also the top certified pre-owned options for buyers of used cars.
Also ranking highly on the list of popular new cars was the Jeep Wrangler, Ram 1500, GMC Sierra, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford F-250. All of those vehicles managed to claim a spot in the top 10.
"The preponderance of large vehicles indicates an improving economy, as sales of pickup trucks correlate with housing starts and construction," said Michelle Krebs, AutoTrader.com senior analyst. "Lower gas prices and many new or refreshed entries also helped boost new truck popularity, particularly in the back half of the year."
Other popular vehicles
Of course, not every vehicle in the top 10 was a large one. The redesigned Ford Mustang snagged the fourth spot, while the Chevrolet Corvette and Chevrolet Camaro came in at Nos. 5 and 6, respectively. Similar vehicles were popular among buyers of certified pre-owned cars as well. The Honda Accord, BMW 3-Series, Toyota Camry and Porsche 911 earned the honor of being on that top 10 list.
While these models may have been the most sought-after of 2014, there's no telling what the next year could hold. Currently, low gas prices have drivers prioritizing performance and aesthetics over fuel efficiency, but that may change in the coming months. Buyers may start looking more closely at average auto repair
costs, vehicle maintenance
warranties or other secondary features as they shop around for the right fit.