Have you ever wondered what automotive topics are trending on Google? Evidently the folks at the search engine giant have – and while search trends are showing a comeback from the economic recession, some of the hottest automotive topics aren't what you'd think.
According to Michelle Morris, Google's industry director for automotive trends, many trending topics in Google's automotive category don't relate to the most popular cars in the media, at auto shows, or even on the roads. Instead, they relate to cars from movies, music, and video games.
On Google's official blog, Morris notes that searches for "Jeep Black Ops" has seen record highs, following the vehicle's use in the video game "Call of Duty: Black Ops." In music, searches for "Aston Martin" and "Aston Martin Music" have become increasingly popular, following Rick Ross's hip-hop hit "Aston Martin Music." And searches for "Chrysler Imperial" have increased steadily since the release of "Green Hornet," which prominently features the distinctive 1960s sedan.
Of course, popular cars outside the entertainment industry see considerable search volume as well. Several of Google's hottest car models include newly-released vehicles like the Nissan Juke, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Honda Accord Crosstour, all of which are crossovers – another Google search term trending steadily upwards. Also trending positively on Google is "minivan" – perhaps owing to Toyota's popular "Swagger Wagon" advertising campaign and the rapid-fire release of redesigned versions of the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Town & Country.
According to Morris, searches for auto-financing related terms – such as "lease," "car loan," and "car calculator" – decreased in 2010, possibly proving that fewer people are finding alternate methods of automotive financing. Such a change would signal a potential sign that the industry is on the right path to economic recovery.
Among overall brands, Ford leads the way in search volume, followed by BMW, Audi, and Nissan. Interestingly, no General Motors or Chrysler nameplates were among Google's top ten most-searched automotive brands, a list which also included Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz. French automaker Renault, which hasn't sold cars in the U.S. since 1986, landed tenth – a reminder of Google's international popularity.