Online searches for luxury vehicles appear to spike in 2020

This year may have seen many of our wants put on the back burner in favour of our needs, but that hasn’t stopped Canadians from at least window shopping for new wheels.

Staff at autotrader.ca reported a 21-per-cent increase in views throughout 2020 due to more people searching the site for their next potential ride. They said this year was all about escapism.

“All across Canada, we saw a sustained interest in luxury vehicles,” said the site’s editor-in-chief, Jodi Lai.

READ MORE: Ontario used auto dealers expect tough year ahead due to COVID-19 pandemic

“Interesting to see because we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and interestingly enough the more practical choices like trucks and SUVs kind of fell off the list this year.”

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This year’s top ten searches at autoTRADER.ca paint a very different picture from last year:

1) Ford F-150
2) Ford Mustang
3) BMW 3 Series
4) Mercedes-Benz C-Class
5) Porsche 911
6) Honda Civic
7) BMW M
8) Chevrolet Corvette
9) Mercedes-Benz E-Class
10) Toyota RAV4

In Ontario, luxury cars made up half of autoTRADER’s top ten searches in 2020. In 2019, just one such vehicle made the list.

While the Ford-150 topped searches again this year both nationally and in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Maritimes, another frequent top-fiver, the Honda Civic, took top spot in Quebec but fell out of the top five in national searches.

In 2020 that gap was filled by queries for vehicles like the Porsche 911, Mercedes-Benz C Class, BMW 3 Series, and the number-one-in-Ontario Ford Mustang.

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“[The Ford Mustang is] one of those attainable dream cars for a lot of folks and they might be doing a lot of daydreaming during COVID,” said Lai.

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As for why people seemed to search for cars more so this year than in other recent years, Lai said surveys done by the website showed “Canadians just aren’t as comfortable using public transportation because of COVID and so that has really led to an increase of Canadians searching for cars during this time.”

The company’s latest study, done in October, showed 65 per cent of respondents claimed they will not use ride-sharing after the pandemic while 54 per cent of regular transit users claimed they will not go back to buses, streetcars and subways post-pandemic and 28 per cent of respondents reported buying or planning to buy a vehicle during the pandemic.

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The site claimed to have seen steady growth this year in searches for electric and hybrid vehicles at a rate of 19 per cent nationwide. In Ontario specifically, there was a 12-per-cent increase in such searches while searches from Atlantic Canada spiked by 58 per cent.

Lai said while she expected that trend to continue, she’s not sure whether searches for luxury vehicles will hold up once things go back to normal or whether those who give in to fantasy now and splurge on fancy wheels might regret it later.

If they do, Lai advised there’s no need to worry.

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“It’s easy enough to buy and sell cars when you have those regrets, so it’s not a big deal,” she said.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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