Auto sales continue to cruise along, as buyers who put off purchases during the recession make up for lost time. Edmunds.com forecasts sales of 16.4 million light vehicles in 2014, an increase over the 15.5 million expected in 2013, driven by pent-up demand.
If sales in fact exceed 16 million, it would be the first time they have passed that number since 2007. While that would still leave them well below the pre-recession five-year average of 16.6 million, it would represent a healthy recovery for the industry.
Rising sales don't mean any slackening of competitive fires, and automakers are redoubling their efforts to make gains using their tried-and-true methods: unleashing new models. While the 2014 model year has only just gotten underway, manufacturers are entitled by government regulation to classify any vehicle introduced after Jan. 1 as a 2015 model.
And so they are. Who wouldn't enjoy bragging that he's parked next year's model in his driveway? There will be plenty of opportunities in 2014. The year will see a rush of high-profile new models, some with breakthrough new technology as Mercedes-Benz, BMW,Ford (F, Fortune 500), and others hurry to cash in on the rising market. Here are some of the highlights.