If you stop by an auto dealership this week, it’s likely you’ll find it bustling.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s is always one of the busiest of the year. As sales continue to reach record levels, it’s a good time take stock of how far the economy and our consumer confidence has come versus just five years ago.
For the auto industry, going from 2013 to 2014 marked the transition from what had been a long, gradual recovery period to an all-out boom.
With lenders primed and ready with low rates, and purse strings loosening, Americans plunged into 2014 with more of a hunger for new vehicles than we’d seen for years. Plenty of fresh product was in the pipeline, too, with redesigned or refreshed versions of strong sellers like the Ford F-150, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, and Ford Mustang all arriving by the end of this year.
On the business side, the level of change within the industry was impossible to ignore. Fiat bought the rest of the Chrysler Group, renaming it FCA US, and the automaker’s surge in product and sales—especially at Jeep—didn’t miss a beat; while General Motors and Ford Motor Company both had new CEOs take the reins. Meanwhile, Toyota announced plans to move to Texas, and Honda and Mazda opened new assembly plants in Mexico, aimed at lower-cost small cars and crossovers.
But it’s back to the dealership level—with you, the new-car shopper—where we returned to take a look back at some of the year’s biggest stories from the automotive world, as they affect you.
We can’t say we would have picked all of these stories, at the time they first broke, as some of the biggest of the year. But this is where, with the benefit of hindsight, we get to take another look at what ended up being six of the biggest automotive stories of this past year.
Click through to see what they were, and how they played out: