Tesla Motors may have posted disappointing sales in China in recent quarters, but apparently the company’s Model S is very popular there, at least in terms of Google searches. Of course popularity doesn’t necessarily translate into sales, as demonstrated by recent analysis of Google Trends data from TopSpeed.
Tesla owns China… on Google
China is the world’s biggest economy, so it’s no wonder every company in the U.S. is targeting it and sees it as important. Tesla disappointed in China sales earlier this year, and CEO Elon Musk threatened to clean house and fire all of the automaker’s employees there. Although the widespread firings across China did not come, Tesla did restructure its business there and focus more on educating Chinese consumers about its cars.
The EV manufacturer has shown signs of recovery in China, with Model S registrations there climbing to 1,055 during the first quarter, according to a marketing consulting firm. In all of last year, registrations suggested that Tesla had sold 2,499 vehicles in China, so clearly the restructuring efforts are working.
Tesla also leads in Norway
And if the Google searches for Tesla in China are any indication, the automaker’s education efforts are working too. Chinese consumers are aware of Tesla and actively seeking more information on the company and its vehicles.
The only other country in which Tesla leads in Google searches is Norway, which shouldn’t be surprising because the company was actually the top-selling automaker there as well. Government subsidies for electric vehicles and Tesla’s strong supercharger network there have both helped boost the company’s sales there.
Toyota, Volkswagen, GM the world’s top-selling automakers
Last year Toyota was last year’s best-selling automaker as it shipped 10.23 million vehicles around the globe. In second place was Volkswagen with 10.14 million vehicles and General Motors with 9.92 million vehicles. But while Toyota was indeed the most popular automaker by Google searches in a significant portion of the world, Volkswagen and GM didn’t fair quite as well.
The reason for this is of course because people don’t always buy the vehicle they search for. Also car buyers probably search for more than one vehicle to learn about their options before they go shopping.
Toyota leads in most countries
The folks at TopSpeed put together infographics which tell the full story of Google searches for automakers. Toyota was at the top spot in the U.S. and Canada, although American-made vehicles tend to be very popular in the region in terms of purchases. Looking at individual U.S. states, Toyota was the most searched-for automaker in more than 20 states, and that doesn’t count the states in which the Japanese automaker was tied with another automaker.
Ford led in 13 states, not counting the states in which it tied with another automaker, often with Toyota. The only state in which Tesla ranked high up on the list was in the District of Columbia where it tied for first place in Google Searches with Toyota. Interestingly, California searchers were more interested in Toyota than Tesla, and the state has been Tesla’s top market.
As you can see from the infographic, automaker searchers tended to be regional. TopSpeed suggests that the reason for this is because different people in different states have different needs. For example, GM’s trucks are popular, and Americans in the North and Central parts of the U.S. need more trucks for farming, logging, and other industries. They also need more SUVs because they get more snow than the rest of the country.
Here’s a look at the full infographic for the world. As you can see, German automakers dominated Europe in Google searches last year. Also Japanese automakers Honda and Toyota rule most of Asia.