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.