Tesla shopping plummeted, BMW maintained its stronghold as No. 1 among luxury-vehicle shoppers, and Toyota widened its lead as the most-shopped nonluxury brand in America, according to the third-quarter Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch reports. Meanwhile, consideration of traditional cars rebounded to prepandemic levels.
Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch is a consumer perception survey that also weaves in shopping behavior to determine how vehicle brands and models stack up against segment competitors when it comes to consumer shopping. Kelley Blue Book produces quarterly Brand Watch reports for nonluxury and luxury brands. A special look at electrified vehicle shopping is also included. The latest Brand Watch report included surveys of both mobile and desktop users to provide an even broader view of vehicle shopping; before the first quarter of this year, the survey included results only from desktop users.
“BMW and Toyota continue to stand firm in their positions as the most-shopped luxury and nonluxury brands (respectively), and both automakers increased their lead over the competition during Q3 2022,” said Vanessa Ton, senior research and market intelligence manager at Cox Automotive.
“The third quarter also saw a noteworthy drop in consideration for Tesla, which could have been caused by a number of factors. Increased competition from other automakers offering more new electric vehicles, price hikes, and a lack of new products all may have contributed to Tesla’s considerable decline. However, we have seen Tesla’s shopping numbers drop before, and they always eventually rebound. It will be interesting to see if they rebound more slowly or quickly this time around.”
Luxury: BMW Widens Luxe Lead, Tesla Interest Falls in Q3
BMW widened its lead in the third quarter as the most-shopped luxury brand, with 22% of luxury shoppers considering it, up one percentage point from the second quarter. BMW also dominated the top 10 list of most-shopped luxury models, with three vehicles, including the 3 Series, 5 Series and X5. Meanwhile, Lexus, Cadillac, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, in that order, ranked behind BMW as the most-shopped luxury brands -- all ahead of Tesla and all with the same percentage of shopping consideration as in the second quarter. Cadillac and Lexus have continued to battle for second place for the last three quarters, and the Cadillac Escalade remained the most-shopped luxury vehicle for the third straight quarter. Other brands gaining consideration in the quarter include Buick, Genesis and Porsche.
Meanwhile, shopper interest in Tesla plummeted quarter-over-quarter. Tesla fell one spot to sixth of the most-shopped luxury brands, with 12% of all luxury shoppers considering a Tesla – down three percentage points quarter-over-quarter and the largest quarter-over-quarter loss for any luxury brand. Shopping consideration for the Model 3 sedan declined by 10%, and the Tesla models Y and Model S fell from the Top 10 most-shopped luxury vehicle list for the first time in two years.
Nonluxury: Supply-Constrained Toyota Widens Lead Over Ford, Chevrolet
Despite having one of the lowest inventory levels in the U.S. automotive industry, Toyota widened its lead in shopping consideration over Ford and Chevrolet among nonluxury shoppers in the third quarter. Of all nonluxury shoppers, 35% considered a Toyota, unchanged from the second quarter. No. 2, Ford, and No. 3, Chevrolet, each dropped one percentage point quarter-over-quarter to 30% and 29%, respectively. Toyota had strong shopping consideration for a variety of its models, most notably with quarterly growth for the RAV4 Hybrid of 21%. Other brands gaining consideration include Jeep, Subaru and Volkswagen.
Gas Prices Boost Traditional Cars to Prepandemic Level
Shopping for traditional cars rebounded to prepandemic levels during the quarter, with 40% of all nonluxury shoppers considering a car. By comparison, less than a third considered a car one year earlier. High gas prices contributed to the bounce-back, as cars typically are more fuel-efficient than their SUV and truck counterparts.
Despite the renewed interest in cars, SUVs remained the most popular vehicle style, with two-thirds of all nonluxury shoppers considering one. Smaller, more fuel-efficient SUVs dominated by Toyota and Honda were the most shopped, with the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid holding the top three spots, respectively. Meanwhile, about a third of shoppers considered a pickup truck, with the Ford F-150 returning to its position as the most-shopped pickup.