Australias most searched car brands in 2012 -How the statistics stack up against sales data

If you’re in the market for a new car, and are looking up vehicle specs and prices, what do you do? Google it – anytime we need information about any topic we turn to Google, the world’s most popular search engine, to find our answers, and the topic of cars is no different.

But do you know which car brands were the most searched in 2012? Google Zeitgeist compiled lists that best reflect the essence of 2012 from over one trillion searches that people typed into Google this year. The “most searched” car brands were the most popular car terms for 2012 within Australia, ranked in order of search volume.

We decided to do something a little different with the topic and compare the most searched car brands to the sales results to date for 2012, and look at why the lists differ. Some of the results may surprise you!

Most searched car brands – 2012 Google Search Trends for Australia

1. Toyota
2. Ford
3. Holden
4. Nissan
5. Honda
6. Mazda
7. BMW
8. Hyundai
9. Subaru
10. Suzuki
(Statistics taken from Google Zeitgeist)

Bestselling car brands and number of units sold – Australia, 2012 to date

1. Toyota – 197,007
2. Holden – 105,938
3. Mazda – 94,332
4. Hyundai – 94,332
5. Ford – 82,800
6. Nissan – 72,417
7. Mitsubishi – 54,786
8. Volkswagen – 50,152
9. Subaru – 37,194
10. Honda – 32,193
(Statistics taken  from, December 2012)

How these lists compare

What is interesting about this comparison is that the top selling cars are not necessarily the most searched – in fact, the only two brands that held the same place on both lists were Toyota (1) and Subaru (9). Why are some top selling brands not on the top searched list and vice versa? We take a look at some possible explanations.

BMW and Suzuki were 7th and 10th respectively on the top ten searched list but failed to make the top ten selling car brands. So why are these brands popular search terms? Both sell other products such as motorcycles, boats, etc. BMW and Suzuki also sponsors motorsport events, so people search for them looking for more than simply cars.

Events impacting on auto brands are another reason that they may be searched. Suzuki was the 10th most searched car brand in Australia this year, partly because they have pulled out of the US market. This increased media coverage meant that it just snuck into 2012’s most searched.

The bestselling brands that didn’t make the most searched list were Mitsubishi and Volkswagen, so if they are popular sellers in Australia why aren’t people searching for them? One reason is that people tend to search for specific model types such as ‘Mitsubishi Lancer’ and ‘VW Golf.  Also, when discussing Volkswagen people usually use the abbreviated ‘VW’ rather than the full brand name. So what does this mean in easy to understand terms? Basically, people aren’t searching for the brand name but rather other terms relating to the auto makers, potentially skewing the results.


With all of the in-depth statistics that Google Zeitgeist and Google Trends provide, you could write hundreds of articles on search trends and still not cover everything. This blog post is by no means a comprehensive comparison of the most searched car brands and the top selling, but rather a snapshot of how the lists differ and some insights into why. Going forward into 2013 it will be interesting to see how these statistics change, and how auto makers use the results to improve their online presence and sales results.

Were you surprised by any of these statistics?

Why do you think the lists differ?

Please comment below.

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