The Biggest News of 2014
The automotive industry had another busy year in 2014. We’ve gathered together the ten most important and influential news stories of the year, all in one place.
Falling gas prices – While not specifically automotive, the fall of gas prices affects everyone in the industry. From manufacturers to families, gas prices touch every corner of the market and for the most part, 2014 came with great news. Gas is selling in many states for as little as $2 per gallon, prices that haven’t been seen since the mid-2000’s.
SEE ALSO: Gas Prices Continue to Fall
GM Ignition Switch Recall – Since the very beginning of 2014, General Motors has been embattled by the Ignition Switch recall scandal. The American automaker announced a recall for 2.6 million small cars in January of this year, though it was later discovered that the company had known about the defect for at least a decade before acting to rectify it. At the time of publication, the official death toll as a result of the faulty ignition switches sits at 42. In the affected cars, the car key can turn from the “on” position, causing the car to suddenly lose propulsion, power steering and airbags.
Takata Airbag Recall – The automotive industry set a new record in 2014 for the number of recalled vehicles in a single year and vehicles equipped with airbags from Japanese supplier Takata played a big role in that. In the affected cars, pieces of metal shrapnel can be hurled at the occupants when the inflators explode with too much force, in some instances resulting in death. Worse still, Takata still hasn’t identified the root cause and a report from the New York Times alleges that company has tried to cover up findings of an internal test that proves that the airbags are defective. Honda, Mazda, Ford, BMW and more have recalled cars worldwide because of the issue.
Diesel Takes Pickup Truck Market by Storm – While diesel engines have always been around in heavy duty trucks, 2014 marks the resurgence of an oil burner in a half-ton pickup truck. The year also brings the promise of more diesel pickups. Ram introduced the 2014 1500 EcoDiesel this year to much fanfare and not long after, Nissan announced that its redesigned 2015 Titan half-ton will be powered by a 5.0-liter Cummins V8 diesel. Also, General Motors is preparing to bring a small 2.8-liter diesel to market in its new midsize pickup twins, the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado.
SEE ALSO: 2014 Ram EcoDiesel Review
Government Mandates Backup Cameras – Backup cameras have been gaining mainstream adoption in new cars for years, but the government decided to make them mandatory this year. All new light vehicles must be fitted with a backup camera. As of May 2018, every new car on sale must have a backup camera that shows at least 10 feet by 20 feet, directly behind the vehicle. The rules are being phased in, with automakers required to equip 10 percent of their vehicles from May 1, 2016, to May 1, 2017 with a compliant backup camera. From there, the proportion of vehicles jumps to 40 percent for the following year and finally it reaches saturation on May 1, 2018.