When Americans want to buy a car, nearly one in six will consider buying a Ford. While not all buyers drive off with one, consumer consideration is a good measure of demand for the brand and sales.
Edmunds.com measured the number of visitors who looked at the pricing, reviews or details of all cars on the site. Based on visitor consideration, these are the cars most Americans are shopping for.
Buyers often look at multiple models before picking one. In general, though, the most commonly considered brands in the country are also the top-selling ones. The top six brands based on 2013 U.S. market share through May are also the six brands customers consider most.
In the case of some car brands, a large number of models account for their success. Edmunds.com analyst Jeremy Acevedo explained that Ford has a diverse lineup of vehicles that helped make it the top auto brand in the United States for consideration and sales last month.
However, he added, this is not the case for brands like Honda, which was number three in consideration and number four in May sales. “They’re doing that on the back of their core. The Accord, the Civic, and the CR-V are driving consideration that high.” Indeed, those three models accounted for more than 70% of Honda’s sales in May.
Relatively highly consideration does not necessarily guarantee high sales. Mazda and BMW were the seventh and eighth most considered brands in the country, respectively, but 17th and 16th in sales. Regarding BMW, “the entry-level luxury market is particularly competitive,” Acevedo said. Because it is such a competitive segment, he explained, more people may think about owning a BMW without that necessarily turning into sales.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the car brands buyers considered the most on Edmunds.com in May 2013. In addition to these figures, Edmunds.com provided sales and market share data for the first five months of this year. We also relied on company press releases and the auto sales data from The Wall Street Journal’s Markets Data Center.
These are the cars most Americans are shopping for.
> Consideration: 5.4%
> YTD sales: 169,835 (11th most)
> YTD market share: 2.6%
> Top model: Jetta
Sales of Volkswagen nearly doubled between 2008 and 2012, from 223,000 to 438,000. In 2013, however, this trend leveled off. The brand’s U.S. sales through May, were virtually unchanged from the same period the year before, while car sales across the country increased by 7.3%. Sales of the Jetta declined 4.5%. A year ago from May, Volkswagen was on 6.7% of car buyers’ short lists, compared to just 5.4% this May.
> Consideration: 5.9%
> YTD sales: 165,362 (12th most)
> YTD market share: 2.6%
> Top model: Outback
Subaru’s sales rose by 79% between 2008 and 2012, more than all but two other brands. At the same time, consumer interest also has increased. As of May, 5.9% of consumers looking for a car considered a Subaru, up from 4.3% the year before when the brand was just the 13th most-desired brand. The brand’s results so far in 2013 may be the most impressive sign of how increased consideration has led to rising sales; for the first five months of the year, sales rose by 21.1% from the same period in 2012.
> Consideration: 6.0%
> YTD sales: 113,357 (17th most)
> YTD market share: 1.8%
> Top model: 3 Series
Car buyers were more likely to consider a BMW than any other German car brand. However, in terms of actual sales, both Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen outsold the brand. Meanwhile, BMW sales rose by a modest 11% between 2008 and 2012. So far this year, BMW has sold 113,357 cars, up just over 8% from the year before. Sales of the make’s top-selling model, the 3 series, have slid by 4.5% through the first five months of 2013.