While there are people who will drive anything that gets them from A to B, a car’s brand remains a huge pull for many around the world in these label-conscious times. And it’s not always about shallow things like glamorous names and alluring silhouettes – a car’s reliability, efficiency and sense of fun are equally valid reasons for wanting one.
So Quickco set our web team the challenge of finding the car brands that people around the world Googled in 2016. The team looked at 193 countries that we could get data from (i.e. no North Korea, Iran, Cuba etc.) to look for trends, patterns and possibly a few surprises.
Most searched by Country
The single brand that topped the list in the highest number of countries was Toyota, in 74 countries. Second was BMW, with 51, and third was Hyundai with 17.
These three brands combined make up 73% of all top searches around the world. That doesn’t necessarily mean more people searched for these brands; small places like Marshall Islands and sparsely populated places like Mongolia don’t add up to huge numbers of people (both were Toyota).
National Loyalty isn’t Strong
You’d think that in countries with car industries, those brands would be most popular, but it isn’t necessarily the case. Only Germany (BMW), France (Renault), Sweden (Volvo) and Italy (Fiat) had a home-grown brand at the top of the league – and in the case of Fiat and Volvo, they were the only countries that put those brands at the top.
Interestingly, Hyundai, which performs well around the world, was not the top search in its native South Korea – that crown went to BMW. And Japan, home to well searched Honda and Toyota (and Suzuki), also seems to prefer BMWs.
The USA, where mass production of motors was pioneered, now searched most for Toyota. But Ironically, the all-American brand Chevrolet was the most searched brand in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico.
Brits need to Up Our Game
Although Britain has a good pedigree when it comes to motor manufacturing, the brands associated with the UK are pretty lacklustre in search terms.
Jaguar (owned by Indian company Tata) gets the most searches in Belize; and Mini (owned by BMW) seems pretty desirable in Laos, Nepal and Yemen.
Niger Loves Bugatti
Only one nation put a supercar brand at the top of its list – Niger. With its record-breaking vehicles that cost millions and have production runs in the hundreds rather than the hundreds of thousands, we can only assume it’s through curiosity rather than putting names on waiting lists (or getting replacement windscreen wipers). But it’s a great find anyway.
We originally had Pagani as the top search in New Zealand, which at first seemed like a Niger-style outlier in the supercar genre … but then we realised Pagani was New Zealand’s answer to Asos or Boohoo!
Note: We were given one small caveat by the web team. While we used Google to perform our analysis, Google is not the most used search engine in some large economies such as China, Russia and South Korea, so these samples will not be as reliable as they would be had we used local search engines. However, Google does still have a large presence in these populous nations, so the proportions of searches will probably be similar.