The Most Searched for Cars in the Past Decade

It's Not Just About Sales

Written by Carly Hallman

When trying to answer the question of what is the most popular car in the world, one can look at sales figures, opinion polls, and industry favorites. However, the one thing that can really show what is on everyone’s mind: Google searches. The most popular are not only the ones that can be bought, but they can also be hidden in the collective imagination or things that consumers find, read articles about, and obsess over. We’ve compiled a list that shows the most searched-for cars of each of the past ten years.

Do car trends correspond with sales?

From 2008 to 2017, car trends have changed a great deal. Right now, Google Trends shows the ever-popular Ford Mustang, Jeep Wrangler, Chevy Camaro, and Honda Civic at the top of the list. If you compare this with a list of the best-selling vehicles, you can spot some major differences: Pickups like the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram trucks as well as the Toyota Camry and Corolla top the list. This implies that there is a difference between the most popular car models purchased and the most popular car models that are searched for.

The Most Searched Cars in the Past Decade infographic

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The Most Searched Cars of the Past Decade

The most searched and trending car companies and models based on Google Trends 2008-2017

Car models:

Rank 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
1 Ford Mustang Ford Mustang Ford Mustang Ford Mustang Ford Mustang Ford Mustang Ford Mustang Ford Mustang Ford Mustang Ford Mustang
2 Honda Civic Chevrolet Camaro Honda Civic Honda Civic Honda Civic Ford F-Series Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet Camaro
3 Chevrolet Corvette Honda Civic Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet Silverado Honda Civic Chevrolet Camaro Jeep Wrangler Jeep Wrangler
4 Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet Corvette Ford F-Series Ford F-Series Honda Accord Ram Pickup Chevrolet Camaro Jeep Wrangler Honda Civic Honda Civic
5 Honda Accord Honda Accord Honda Accord Honda Accord Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet Corvette Jeep Wrangler Honda Civic Chevrolet Corvette Honda Accord
6 Ford F-Series Ford F-Series Chevrolet Corvette Chevrolet Silverado Ford F-Series Honda Accord Ram Pickup Chevrolet Corvette Ram Pickup Chevrolet Corvette
7 Toyota Prius Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet Silverado Chevrolet Corvette Chevrolet Corvette Jeep Wrangler Chevrolet Corvette Honda Accord Honda Accord Ram Pickup
8 Volkswagen Jetta Volkswagen Jetta Jeep Wrangler Jeep Wrangler Jeep Wrangler Jeep Grand Cherokee Honda Accord Toyota Tacoma Toyota Tacoma Toyota Tacoma
9 Chevrolet Silverado Jeep Wrangler Volkswagen Jetta Volkswagen Jetta Ram Pickup Chevrolet Camaro Toyota Tacoma Ford GT Ford GT Honda CR-V
10 Nissan Altima Toyota Camry Ram Pickup Ram Pickup Nissan Altima Honda Civic Jeep Grand Cherokee Subaru Impreza Dodge Charger Dodge Challenger

*Due to data availability, 2012-2015 shows most searched car models in December of that year, 2017 shows most searched car models in June of that year

Car companies:

Rank 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
1 Honda Ford Ford Ford Ford Honda Chevrolet Chevrolet Chevrolet Chevrolet
2 Ford Honda Honda Honda Honda Ford Dodge Dodge Honda Toyota
3 Toyota Toyota Toyota Dodge Dodge BMW Honda Honda Toyota Honda
4 Nissan Dodge Nissan Nissan Nissan Dodge Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz Mercedez-Benz Mercedes-Benz
5 Dodge Nissan BMW Toyota Toyota Toyota BMW Volkswagen Dodge Dodge
6 BMW BMW Dodge BMW BMW Nissan General Motors General Motors Volkswagen Volkswagen
7 Volkswagen Volkswagen Volkswagen Volkswagen Volkswagen Mercedes-Benz Lexus Lexus Lexus Lexus
8 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz Volkswagen Mazda Mazda General Motors General Motors
9 General Motors General Motors Hyundai Hyundai Hyundai General Motors Yamaha Motor Company Porsche Mazda Tesla, Inc.
10 Mazda Mazda Lexus Lexus Subaru Lexus Kia Motors Tesla, Inc. Porsche Mazda

*Due to data availability, 2013 and 2014 show most searched car companies in December of that year, 2017 shows most searched car companies in June of that year

Top 10 trending car models of 2016:

Rank Car models
1 Ram Pickup
2 Chrysler Pacifica
3 Honda Civic
4 BMW 3 Series
5 Honda Ridgeline
6 Kia Soul
7 Mazda CX-9
8 Toyota RAV4
9 Jeep Wrangler
10 Toyota Highlander

Top 10 trending car companies of 2016:

Rank Car companies
1 Honda
2 Mercedez-Benz
3 Tesla
4 Lamborghini
5 Volvo
6 Ford
7 Jaguar
8 Bentley
9 Maserati
10 Rolls-Royce


When we search, are we just gazing at beautiful cars?

Those who engage in a car search may not only be interested in buying one. Some, like the Mustang, are just interesting to look at and read about. The Ford Mustang has been watched closely by enthusiasts since 1964, with a long and beautiful history that continues to be written today. Despite that, sales of the vehicle itself have plunged in America (though they have increased a great deal overseas). When we search for new cars, do we only want to look at them? The Mustang implies that that could be the case. Camaro sales have been fairly consistent. On the other hand, the fun and interesting-to-look-at Jeep Wrangler has increased in sales along with Google searches. What these top vehicles seem to tell us so far, is that people especially love searching for customizable cars, with all four of the most-searched models offering a great deal of room to switch colors, add spoilers, and put on personal touches.

What are the most popular car brands in search?

There’s a bit more of an overlap between car trends in Google versus car sales in real life. It’s important to point out, though, that something might not be trending in Google in a positive way. Each of the major car companies has gotten bad press over the years. The Volkswagen emissions scandal resulted in the company having a high number of searches in2015, but resulted in a decrease in consumer confidence. The Takata airbag recalls had a similar effect for Honda in 2013 as well.

Which car trend is making the most waves today?

Our car-of-the-year list includes the most searched-for cars, but it doesn’t include what Google sees as “trending,” which are the cars that suddenly spike in popularity. Trending topics now include the Ford Bronco pickup, Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV, and the Tesla Model S car. Search engines typically know which models to look out for, which can create a positive feedback loop. The fact that Tesla is becoming more talked about might surprise some car experts, but it’s no surprise to those who study search engine optimization, or SEO. Car search metrics can tell us a lot about which cars consumers may not be buying, but are dreaming of, what they prefer, and what they really desire. Perhaps Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and Tesla will be the ones to take away 2017!

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