The Google Trends tool tracks the search volumes of Internet users for any particular topic. Among queries for automakers in 2013, there were several top trenders that had no correlation to sales, while others equated directly to the impact on automobile consumers headed for dealers’ lots. Here are the 10 automakers that were the most popular in terms of attention online in 2013.
The accolades are piling up for Mazda’s (MZDAF.PK) lineup of sporty, stylish, and affordable automobiles. Between the Mazda3 and Mazda6, there’s a lot to love about the automaker’s rides. Google searches for Mazda spiked considerably in 2013, especially for the Mazda3, making the company the tenth biggest trender online when compared to 2012 search data.
American consumers pushed the Subaru (FUJHY.PK) brand to gains of more than 25 percent in the U.S. in 2013. Among Internet search queries, the Subaru Impreza received the lion’s share of attention online, followed by the Outback and the hot-selling Forester. It was the ninth top-trending automaker on the year.
Though the Chrysler Group LLC is majority owned by Fiat (FIATY.PK), there’s no mistaking the Detroit swagger of cars like the muscle-bound Dodge Challenger. Online, most of the curious hunted for Ram trucks under the Dodge banner despite the pickup line’s spin off from Dodge several years ago. It’s simply a matter of nomenclature, as both brands are fueling the resurgent Chrysler.
With the construction industry booming and gas prices on the lower end of the spectrum, big trucks sold at a record pace in the U.S. in 2013. That has spelled good news for the GMC (NYSE:GM) brand, which specializes in mammoth vehicles that deliver an upmarket twist on Chevy trucks. The new GMC Sierra and GMC Yukon led the charge for the seventh top-trending automobile company of 2013.
The world’s leading automaker in sales held the crown in 2013 while showing no signs of slowing down its pace of innovation. From fuel-cell vehicles to redesigned compact cars and its popular Prius hybrid line, Toyota (NYSE:TM) remained on auto consumers’ minds throughout 2013. Besides the obvious appeal of cars like the Camry (2013′s top-selling car in the U.S.) and Corolla, online queries were almost equally focused on the Tundra and Tacoma trucks.
Jeep was another top-trending brand under the Chrysler and Fiat banner. Consumers searched at the highest volumes for the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee, the heavily lauded Grand Cherokee, and the Jeep Wrangler in 2013, helping the company crack the top five on Google’s list of biggest increases in search interest on the year.
It’s hard to top the year Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) had. The Dearborn-based automaker had the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. (F-Series trucks), the best selling vehicle on the planet (the Ford Focus), and a star midsize sedan that sold more than any other automobile in the Big Three’s home turf of Michigan (the Ford Fusion). It’s no surprise that the F-150 and Focus topped the list of search terms for the fourth top-trending automaker of 2013.
Mini may not be the highest profile brand under the BMW (BMAXY.PK) banner, but the little-cars-that-could were behind the automaker placing third among the biggest trending automakers of 2013. California auto consumers had Minis on their minds more than any other state, while shoppers in Hawaii and Oklahoma tied for second.
Clearly, people like to window-shop online. Otherwise, how would one explain Volkswagen’s (VLKAY.PK) Bugatti brand being the second biggest trender of 2013? Reports show dealers sell about 40 of the company’s cars worldwide every year — mainly to elite athletes and movie stars.
Take the Bugatti Veyron preferred by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo. The car costs $1.5 million but analysts say the production costs Bugatti about $1.62 million. Business Insider reported Bugatti may lose $6 million on every Veyron sold. Now that’s worth a few million search queries.
Is it possible for an automaker to be more hyped than Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA)? No one could top the electric vehicle maker in 2013 for sheer buzz online as the company was the top trender among all auto brands. Whether dazzling the public with flashy events or reeling in accolades for the Model S, Tesla proved an all-electric car has real-world potential when done right. Of course, investors won’t balk at the company’s otherworldly stock gains of 346 percent on the year, either.