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

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