The most obvious explanation for why people use Google searches for cars is to research vehicles they might actually want to buy. But if that’s what you’re thinking, boy, are you wrong. Google is a dream factory, and people search for the stuff that great dreams are made of.
How else to explain the Trending Car Companies list for 2013, with Tesla Motors holding the top spot and, amazingly enough, Bugatti at Number Two?
The Tesla (below) is a $70,000 to a $100,000-and-change car, and the Bugatti — assuming you want a Veyron Grand Sport targa (and who doesn’t?) — well, then we’re at $2.2 million. Plainly, people want to imagine themselves piloting cars that mostly go to Arab sheiks or get wrecked by rock stars, when they actually drive Honda Civics and Chevy Cruzes. It’s the same exact reason regular folks buy car magazines with unobtainable Ferraris and Lamborghinis on the cover.
The most searched new car is the Chevy Corvette. C’mon. The ‘Vette actually sold only 11,647 units in 2012. That’s tiny — the Chevy Volt has outsold it. With two seats and barely any luggage space, the $50,000 Corvette is one of the most impractical cars on the planet, but it is hugely iconic and aspirational.
The list of new cars trending on Google is topped by the aforementioned 2014 Chevy Volt (also the most searched hybrid or electric car). That makes some sober sense, because people are imagining themselves in a green car, and the Volt is the one that doesn’t require you to change your lifestyle all that much — 300-mile range. And GM dropped the price by $5,000 for 2014, and that got a lot of attention.
Number two on the trending list is the 2013 Acura NSX sports car, and now we’re back in dreamland. For one thing, there is no 2013 NSX. Instead, Honda showed a concept car (above) that’s targeted for 2015. Nobody’s thinking of actually buying it at this point; they just want to feast their eyes.
Yes, people use mainstream and practical search terms like “2014 Ford F-150” and “2013 Scion iQ,” but they can dream, can’t they? Speaking of which, I was curious why the Tesla Model S didn’t place on the new cars or trending list, since its parent company was a huge star. A spokeswoman, Megan Sutton, told me, “We spoke with Google directly and they aren’t able to speculate as to why (or why not) a search term made a list.”
For more of what people are searching for, check out Google’s Zeitgeist site here. It seems that Tesla is the second-most Googled stock, too (after Facebook). Miley Cyrus and Paul Walker are huge in people choices, so it helps to be a) outrageous; or b) dead.
And even if you think you know every funny Google search there is, check this video out:
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