Toyota, BMW, Tesla most-searched cars during lockdown

You don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone. During lockdown, Filipinos certainly felt the loss of the freedom of travel. Not surprisingly, many passed the time thinking of where they’ll go — and more importantly —what car to go there in once travel restrictions are eased. With the easing of partial lockdown measures in several countries across the ASEAN region, the urge to travel across cities has come to an all-time high.

That said, which car brand piqued motorists’ interest the most during this period?

iPrice, an aggregator e-commerce platform, has looked at the data on Google search interests and discovered a prominent surge in searches for some car brands in the region during the period of March – May 2020 as compared to the period before the pandemic. 

According to iPrice, Japanese car manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota, and Mitsubishi were dominating searches in Southeast Asian countries during and after the imposed lockdown measures. iPrice notes that this may indicate that Southeast Asians value affordable yet high quality cars.

Honda was the most searched car brand in Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, while Toyota took the runner-up spot in most countries, but ranked #1 in the Philippines.

With a vast array of models from Honda, Toyota, and Mitsubishi, car enthusiasts looked to their favorite car brands. However, the luxury segment wasn’t far behind. BMW and Mercedes-Benz were also attracting buyers more than ever as the search interest jumped by 50%. Even their competitor, Audi, witnessed a similar increase of 49% between the period of March – May 2020 when compared to December 2019 – February 2020.

Although the US-based electric car company, Tesla, came fifth in the region, the company snagged the first spot in countries like Singapore and Hong Kong. Quite surprisingly, Tesla came in fourth in the Philippines even if it is not officially on sale here.

This can probably be attributed to favorable government regulations, and the fact that electric models from other brands were teased in late 2019. Some were originally scheduled to be launched during the March to May period.

As for body styles, SUVs were still the top preference, followed by sedans and MPVs. Many motorists plan to go on holiday or back to their hometowns with SUVs and sedans as their go-to vehicles of choice.

iPrice Group and its methodology

iPrice collected Google search data using Keyword Planner based on a list of keywords of 22 car brands in Southeast Asia from March 1st – May 31st, 2020 in comparison to December 1st, 2019 – February 29th, 2020.  Data on the type of cars were obtained based on the keywords such as “SUV,” “MPV,” “WGN,” “Hatch,” “Sedans,” and “Coupe.”

iPrice Group is a meta-search website operating in seven countries across Southeast Asia namely in; Malaysia Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. Currently, iPrice compares and catalogues more than 500 million products and receives close to 20 million monthly visits across the region. iPrice currently operates three business lines: price comparison for electronics and health and beauty; product discovery for fashion and home and living; and coupons across all verticals.