Research firm Polk is expecting new-vehicle introductions to rise, with 43 launches planned in 2013. This is a 50% increase over the number of new models launched in 2012.

Beyond the new vehicle launches, Polk expects 60 vehicle re-designs, largely due to increasing retail showroom traffic and new registrations.

In addition, the research firm said that total light-duty vehicle sales are also expected to rise to a total of 15.3 million in 2013, which is a 6.6% increase over sales in 2012.

"Polk expects continued recovery in the industry in 2013 and 2014, a positive sign for the U.S. economy," said Anthony Pratt, director of forecasting for the Americas at Polk. "The auto sector is likely to continue to be one of the key sectors that lead the U.S. economic recovery; however, we don't expect to realize prerecession levels in the 17 million vehicles range for many years."

Key segments to watch in 2013 include the large pickup truck segment, which Polk said will likely grow due to a number of significant new vehicle launches in that segment for the 2013-MY and 2014-MY. Polk also expects the midsize sedan segment to continue to lead and grow in terms of market share in 2013. Other segments to watch include compacts and subcompacts.

One segment Polk is not optimistic about is the hybrid group, with the organization predicting only a small improvement over its current market share of 2.9%. Polk's reasons for this prediction include the large price difference between hybrid and traditional models, and the high number of traditionally powered vehicles that get similar mileage.