These Are The Most-Searched Car Brands in the Philippines and Southeast Asia During COVID-19

COVID-19 cases are showing no signs of slowing down in the Philippines, but the government has already eased up on certain restrictions to get the economy going again. That includes land travel between cities and provinces. 

Some people used the nearly three-month lockdown to search for their dream rides. And this is what ecommerce aggregator iPrice looked at to find out the most popular car brands and models in the country and the region, at least during most of the quarantine period.

As expected, Japanese car manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota, and Mitsubishi dominated Southeast Asian countries during and after the imposed lockdown measures. According to iPrice, this is likely an indication of Southeast Asians favoring high quality yet affordable cars.

Unsurprisingly, Toyota, which dominates the automotive market in the Philippines, clinched the top spot in terms of searches in the country. Following Toyota in the Philippine rankings are Honda, BMW, Tesla (!), and Mitsubishi. 

Photo by iPrice.

Honda, meanwhile, was the most searched car brand in Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Toyota took the runner-up spot in most other countries in the region.

But in Singapore and Hong Kong, it’s Tesla that people seem to be most curious about. 

Two things stand out in the tally. First, the appearance of Tesla, which has yet to be made available locally. iPrice says that both Singapore and Hong Kong aim to reduce air pollution and are advocating for the use of fully electric cars by 2050, which explains Tesla’s high ranking in these countries. The search interest of Tesla spiked 22 percent in Hong Kong alone, garnering an average of 246,000 search interests during the period.

Second is the appearance in the survey of German car models BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which are considered luxury vehicle brands. iPrice says both companies are attracting buyers more than ever as the search interest jumped by 50 percent. Another German brand, Audi, also witnessed a similar increase of 49 percent between the period of March to May 2020 compared to December 2019 to February 2020.

Photo by iPrice.
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While MPVs/WGNs, hatchbacks, and coupes garnered a fair share of search interest, it’s clear that most people still have SUVs and sedans in their heads.

iPrice collected Google search data using Keyword Planner based on a list of keywords of 22 car brands in Southeast Asia from March 1st – May 31st, 2020 in comparison to December 1st, 2019 – February 29th, 2020.  Data on the type of cars were obtained based on the keywords such as “SUV,” “MPV,” “WGN,” “Hatch,” “Sedans,” and “Coupe.”

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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