Volkswagen beats Ford in online search battle
Ford is no longer the most searched-for car manufacturer on the internet, with Volkswagen leapfrogging the manufacturer into first place - despite selling 20,000 cars less than its competitor.
Ford had a 10.02 per cent market share of search traffic for branded automotive searches between April and June 2012, with Volkswagen's 10.13 per cent share taking them into first position. Volkswagen saw 45,932 of its vehicles registered during the second half of this year, while Ford had registered 67,530.
The results are published in Experian Hitwise UK's quarterly UK Automotive Industry Review. Ford has dominated online searches since Experian Hitwise started recording online data for the auto industry. The data is based against results taken in March 2012.
Ford's dethroning can be attributed to buyers searching for commercial Volkswagen vehicles, and an increase in interest in the brand's campervans.
Volkswagen has also improved its commercial website, which has been named as the third fastest-growing manufacturer website of the quarter, by-and-large due to a fourteen per cent increase for 'Volkswagen T5' searches. Campervan searches were up thirty-three per cent in the second quarter of 2012.
The runners up
Despite Volkswagen moving to first position for number of branded registrations, year-on-year registrations for the brand were actually down by four per cent during the second quarter.
Nissan was the brand that saw the biggest upward search leap, with the Japanese manufacturer jumping three places from eleventh to eighth. Nissan had 3.67 per cent of all automotive brand searches over those three months.
Audi and BMW are still neck-and-neck with each other for third position for search market share. Audi currently sits in third, but less than 0.5 per cent market share separates the two giants. Kia was the biggest loser, dropping to thirteenth position. Kia was ranked ninth in March.
When comparing official SMMT figures for new car registrations for the period, Ford, Vauxhall, Nissan and Peugeot all have sold a higher number of cars than people who have searched for the brand. Ford's biggest competitors - Volkswagen, BMW and Audi - all have a stronger online presence than the amount of cars registered.
Written by John Meadowcroft