The U.S. auto industry grew by 13.9 percent last year, with companies combining to deliver 14,491,873 vehicles in 2012. And at this point, despite a fairly mediocre December, there’s a general feeling that the marketplace has finally caught back up to its pre-meltdown levels. Consider: The industry was responsible for a bit over 16 million sales in 2007, which was when the first effects of the global economic collapse hit the auto business, and about 13.2 million vehicles were sold in 2008, as things started to get really ugly.
But while the industry’s numbers are on their way back up to where they used to be, the vehicles responsible for those numbers are sometimes far different from the leading names of 2007—as you’ll see while we review the best-selling mainstream cars of the year from some of the country’s top automotive segments.
(We’ll do the truck side of the business tomorrow.)