Press release

VW Golf knocks BMW 3 Series off coveted top spot as most searched for car in 2018

  • The BMW 3 Series had previously held the top spot for the past eight years on Auto Trader
  • Over 42 million searches made for VW Golf on Auto Trader from Jan-Nov 2018
  • Premium German brands dominate with eight out of ten most searched for models of the year

Auto Trader, the UK’s largest marketplace for new and used cars, has revealed the Volkswagen Golf as the most searched for car of 2018, knocking the BMW 3 Series off the top spot, where it has stood for the last eight years.

Since 2010, the BMW 3 Series has reigned supreme as the UK’s most searched for car, but as of December 2017, searches for the Volkswagen Golf have surpassed the BMW 3 Series every single month, totaling over 42 million searches (Jan-Nov 18) for the popular hatchback in 2018 alone.

From January to November 2018, the BMW 3 Series was searched for almost 40 million times on Auto Trader, but data from the Auto Trader marketplace for December shows that the Volkswagen Golf continues to lead from the front.

Both popular cars have a great history, with the Volkswagen Golf launched in 1974 and the BMW 3 Series a year later in 1975. Both models are now on their seventh generation and appeal to a broad range of car buyers for a breadth of car buying requirements. And with new models expected next year for both the Golf and 3 Series, the ongoing contest for Britain’s most popular car looks to get even hotter.

But the tight contest between the two German models highlights a bigger trend seen within Auto Trader’s most searched for cars, which is an increasing dominance of German premium cars that now make up eight out of Auto Trader’s top ten most searched for cars of the year.

Mercedes-Benz, which features three models in the top the ten, held on to third place for the second year running with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The Audi A3 also held on to the same spot at number eight for the second year running but remains the only model from the Audi brand to feature in the top 10.

A spokesperson for Auto Trader, said: “After a long reign as the UK’s most searched for car the BMW 3 Series finally surrenders to the Volkswagen Golf in 2018. But with both of these brands releasing newer models in 2019, the battle for the title of Britain’s most popular car is far from over.”

“The results show that premium models continue to be a popular choice as they have become more accessible for more buyers through competitive finance options for new and used cars. Yet despite this trend, the search results highlight how the Ford Focus and Fiesta continue to be hugely popular for mass car buyers every single year.”

“With new models and more EV versions launching next year, it will be interesting to see how more choice of electric and hybrid vehicles might affect searches at a mass level, to show a significant sign that more UK car buyers might be tempted to make the move to electric.”

Data from Auto Trader’s latest Market Report revealed that alternatively fuelled vehicles make up just 5% of total searches on the marketplace, which has increased by 3% in the last three years. 

Rank

Model

Searches on Auto Trader (Jan-Nov 2018)

1

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF

42,602,488

2

BMW 3 SERIES

40,396,553

3

MERCEDES-BENZ C CLASS

26,766,607

4

FORD FOCUS

23,744,643

5

BMW 1 SERIES

22,691,118

6

FORD FIESTA

22,366,671

7

BMW 5 SERIES

20,634,259

8

AUDI A3

20,570,071

9

MERCEDES-BENZ E CLASS

20,488,911

20

MERCEDES-BENZ A CLASS

13,647,688

This week we hosted our 2nd #DiversityandInclusion event in partnership with @ennisandco 80+ HR directors CEOs MDs & change leaders joined us at our London offices to share ideas & identify solutions for driving greater #diversityinauto Find out more here https://t.co/g3XfiuIITr https://t.co/WqZJD4V1S1
Just a few days left to enter the #ATAwards. If you needed any more reason to enter then take a listen to last year's 'Rising Star', Jacob Freshwater on how it's helped his business. Lines close on Monday 20th May, for more info & to enter, just visit: https://t.co/gV180jMxhE https://t.co/bAtvk7pLM9
Jesse Norman MP launching the @RMI_NFDA’s new EVA accreditation @EVApproved https://t.co/CB2fxAwwzI
We're looking forward to the official launch of the @RMI_NFDA Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) scheme tonight. Endorsed by the Government's Office for Low Emission Vehicles & the Energy Saving Trust it's a brilliant way to stand out from competitors & build trust with car buyers https://t.co/jnPFz1AeWQ
Consumers like to buy from people like them, and we need to see more diversity in retailers and dealerships, Ian mentions at #FTCar summit
Consumers look for their next new car, they don’t simply think I’m looking for a brand new or used car, Ian tells the panel at #FTCar summit
Auto Trader’s @IanJPlummer is on the panel at the #FTCar summit talking about retail https://t.co/pyfK8JKLRO
“The industry isn’t doing enough to show the total cost of ownership of EVs and we are very close to price parity” says Rupert Mitchell, Chief Strategy Officer, WM Motor #FTCar
“There’s a flourishing second hand market in electric vehicles” says Vicky Edmonds, joint head, OLEV at #FTCar summit
A fantastic panel of industry executives representing various aspects of the automotive industry sharing their experience of delivering a D&I strategy into their business #diversityinauto https://t.co/haJGkIbL4I

Auto Trader Group plc
Registered in England (Company number: 09439967)

Auto Trader Limited
Registered in England and Wales (Company number: 03909628)

Registered address:

1 Tony Wilson Place
Manchester
M15 4FN
VAT number: GB 614 8918 20

Keep in touch

We use social media to speak to the UK’s largest car buying audience