Most Popular Cars

Over 80% CarMax customers show no brand loyalty; loyal customers want Lexus, SUV models

CARY, N.C. - 

Not only does transaction data show what brands CarMax buyers are most loyal to, a look into their individual buying patterns shows that most customers aren’t very loyal to their car brands at all. 

Despite finding that Lexus, followed by Mercedes-Benz and then Ford, have the most loyal drivers among its customers, CarMax found that.

Among drivers who traded in a car, only 19.4 percent continue on with that same brand in the future, compared to a little over 80 percent who don't, according to the company.

While most CarMax shoppers don't purchase the same brand as their trade-in, some do. Here's a list of the 10 brands with the highest repurchase rate at CarMax:

  1. Lexus, 30.4 percent percent
  2. Mercedes-Benz, 28.3 percent
  3. Ford 26.1 percent
  4. Cadillac, 24.7 percent
  5. Toyota, 24.6 percent 
  6. BMW, 23.5 percent
  7. Chevrolet, 22.5 percent
  8. Porsche, 21.5 percent
  9. Infiniti, 20.6 percent
  10. Nissan, 20.6 percent

CarMax said that it examined all customer transaction data recorded between Jan. 1, last year through Dec. 31.

While Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Ford have the most loyal CarMax customers, Volkswagen, Mazda and Volvo brands carry the least amount of loyal CarMax owners, according to the company.

Moreover, the used-car retailer also found that a Lexus vehicle owner is four times more likely to buy another Lexus from CarMax than a Volkswagen owner is to buy another Volkswagen.

The year-long data from 2017 shows that the most repurchased vehicles models are the Chevrolet Corvette, Lexus RX 355, Dodge Ram 1500, Lexus ES 350 and Ford F150. A little over 30 percent of Corvette owners purchase another Corvette from CarMax, according to CarMax.

Meanwhile, CarMax also looked at consumer loyalty to vehicle segments and found that sport-utility vehicles are the most re-purchased vehicle body style type overall.

According to the company, 61 percent of CarMax SUV segment owners end up purchasing another SUV, while just 5.9 percent of two-door hatchback owners and 8.7 percent of two-door truck owners end up making a repurchase of that same body style.

Furthermore, the sedan segment has the second highest repurchase rate at CarMax (47.5 percent).

Consumers get charged up about alt-fuel units

CARY, N.C. - 

As consumer perception changes about the vehicles’ capabilities and limitations, along with automakers pushing more models and options into the market, the volume of leased alternative-fuel vehicles is on the rise. shared data from its own site on Wednesday as well as analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance to shed light on trends about hybrids and electric vehicles (EV). Site officials indicated their analysis shows that alternative fuel vehicles now make up roughly 7.5 percent of the marketplace, up from 5.5 percent back in 2015.

Swapalease pointed to Bloomberg’s efforts considering roughly about 31 percent of all new models rolling over the curb at franchised dealerships are attached to a lease contract. The Bloomberg report showed that as many as 80 percent of battery electric vehicles, and 55 percent of plug-in hybrids are leased.

Tesla, which doesn’t sell through a dealer network, isn’t included in these figures, according to Swapalease’s recap of the material.

Changing mood about these vehicles

So why are consumers gaining more interest in these vehicles while prices at the pump remain below $3 per gallon throughout most of the United States? They might be finding more concrete information about these models.

In December, released a study based on a user survey that shows buyers misunderstand EVs and the used EV market.

The study combined a user survey of 1,249 vehicle owners and market data from 17,738 used vehicles. Here are some key findings from the survey and assertions by

• Public perception: The average buyer thinks a quality used electric vehicle costs $5,000 more than an equivalent gas vehicle.

• The facts: A used 2015 Nissan LEAF is cheaper than its gas class-competitors (the equivalent Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla).

• Public perception: Aside from vehicle range, reliability is the biggest concern of prospective EV buyers (41 percent of buyers are most concerned about EV).

• The Facts: According to user ratings, the 2015 Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt have better than average reliability, with the Nissan LEAF scoring better than the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla.

The entire project by .

What’s available to lease?

Turning back to the Swapalease analysis, the information showed that the Toyota Prius represented 47 percent — nearly half — of the entire alternative-fuel inventory on at the end of 2017, down from 52 percent in 2015.

Tesla currently holds 23.3 percent of alt-fuel vehicle inventory, followed by the Chevrolet Volt (14 percent) and the Nissan LEAF (11.2 percent).

Other manufacturers and models make up 5 percent of the alternative-fuel lineup on

Scot Hall, executive vice president of Swapalease, noted that Tesla has grown the most share of the alternative-fuel inventory on between 2015 and the end of 2017, jumping 25 percent during that time.

The Prius, in comparison, has grown just 4.2 percent during the same time frame.

While the Chevy Volt has remained almost flat in growth during those two years, Hall pointed out that the addition of the Chevrolet Bolt has also significantly added to the Chevrolet alternative-fuel lineup..

“We fully expect alternative fuel vehicles to continue their growth in not only the marketplace, but in leasing overall,” Hall said.

“Alternative-fuel technology is a microcosm of the rationale for leasing in that people realize the technology improves significantly in just a few years, therefore they want the ability to upgrade and change into a different vehicle during that time frame,” Hall said.

Prospects for alternative-fuel vehicles in 2018

The analyst team at Edmunds is thinking that 2018 is germinating to be the greenest year yet.

Edmunds analysts project that overall market share for green vehicles (EVs, plug-ins and traditional hybrids) will reach 4.4 percent in 2018, compared to an estimated 3.2 percent in 2017. Edmunds also predicts sales of plug-in vehicles will double in 2018 as compared to 2017, outselling traditional hybrids by the end of next year.

“Even if Tesla doesn’t meet its full production commitments for the Model 3 until midsummer, 2018 will still be a hallmark year for green vehicles,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis.

“The price of batteries is coming down, EV range is rising, and shoppers will have more choices than ever. However, the lower end of the EV market will feel pressure once federal tax credits start to wane toward the latter half of the year, which will give the first indication of how ready the segment is to stand on its own,” Caldwell continued.

Caldwell also touched on what the growth in alternative-fuel units means for what automakers might be doing well beyond this year.

“The rise in green car sales is really just a precursor to what OEMs have in the works for the autonomous vehicles promised for 2019 and 2020,” Caldwell said, adding, “2018 will be a year of right-sizing for the present while putting some of the critical building blocks in place for the future.”

Ford Mustang named most-viewed 2017 vehicle


The Ford Mustang has once again seen the most shopper interest growth year-over-year, according to Jumpstart Automotive Media’s latest shopper interest data report, which shows that the model saw the biggest jump in views last year.

The model has maintained its top position each year since 2014.

In addition to growing interest in the most-viewed Ford Mustang, Jumpstart data also reveals that shoppers showed notable interest in trucks, SUVs and crossovers last year.

Last year, 60 percent of the top 20 most-viewed vehicles across Jumpstart were from the truck, SUV and crossover segments.

The Ford F-150, which has ranked second for three of the past four years, saw 33 percent growth year-over-year and was the only truck to make it in the top 10. The Chevrolet Silverado is ranked 11th, and the RAM 1500 dropped from the top 25.

Other top 10 models include the Honda Accord and CR-V, Jeep Wrangler, Chevy Corvette, Honda Civic, Chevy Camaro, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Toyota Camry.

Additionally, since 2014, the percentage of SUVs/CUVs in the top 10 increased by 50 percent, according to Jumpstart.

“It’s well documented that since the recession American auto shoppers have once again been enamored with trucks, SUVs and CUVs,” Jumpstart strategic insights senior analyst Colin Thomas said in a news release.

“2017 was no different, and, in fact, shows that this love affair continues to grow. However, newly redesigned sedans such as the Toyota Camry and Accord illustrated that there remains a healthy appetite for cars with improved styling, performance, and technology,” Thomas explained.

The Honda Accord, which moved up seven spots to rank third saw a 37 percent boost in shopper interest last year, and the Camry saw a 62 percent share of interest rise — the second-highest growth among top 100 vehicles.

Jumpstart’s eighth annual Insights Book is due for release in March, the company said.

Toyota models dominate list of top cars kept 15 years or longer


Japanese brands produce the most models that owners keep for 15 years or longer, according to a new study by

The study found that 14 Japanese models and one German import are at least to be kept by the original owners for 15 years or more.

Toyota dominates the list with nine models named, including the Highlander, followed by the Honda brand, the only other automaker to earn multiple spots on the list.

“While a decade on the road used to be a significant milestone for vehicle life expectancy, the elevated quality of cars being produced has raised this standard to beyond ten years,” iSeeCars chief executive officer Phong Ly said in a news release. “Japanese automakers are known for setting quality and reliability standards, so it is no surprise that they are the most likely to reach the 15-year milestone.”

Brands with one model on the list include Acura, Subaru and Nissan.

In the 15th spot stands the Volkswagen Golf, the only non-Japanese model to make the list.

“The Golf appeals to a wide range of demographics by being a compact car with significant cargo space,” explained Ly. “The car is known for its practicality, so it appears to attract practical consumers who will make the necessary repairs to keep it on the road for as long as possible.”

The top 15 cars kept for at least 15 years include the following models:

  1. Toyota Highlander
  2. Toyota Sienna
  3. Toyota Tundra
  4. Toyota Prius   
  5. Toyota RAV4
  6. Honda Odyssey         
  7. Toyota Sequoia          
  8. Toyota Tacoma          
  9. Honda CR-V 
  10. Toyota Avalon           
  11. Acura MDX   
  12. Toyota Camry
  13. Subaru Forester          
  14. Nissan Frontier
  15. Volkswagen Golf

Additionally, the Toyota Prius, named fourth on the list, is the only hybrid model to make the list.

“Hybrid owners have the added incentive to keep their cars on the road for longer in order to accrue fuel savings to offset the increased upfront cost of these vehicles,” Ly added.

“Despite consumers’ concerns about battery durability and the associated high replacement cost, its appearance on the list shows that the reliability of the Prius measures up to Toyota’s conventional fuel counterparts,” he continued.

To determine which top 15 models are most likely kept for 15 years or more, iSeeCars said it analyzed more than 650,000 cars from model years 1981 to 2002, sold between January through November 2017.

iSeeCars then ranked models according to the original-owner percentage, according to the company. “Original-owner” vehicles are cars bought as new by the owner.

“iSeeCars aims to empower consumers to find the right car at the right price, and providing information on cars that owners keep for at least 15 years helps achieve that,” said Ly. “If consumers are looking for a dependable car that will stand the test of time with the right maintenance and upkeep, they should consider these brands and models.”

9 automakers among 2018 AutoWeb Buyer’s Choice Award Winners

IRVINE, Calif. - 

AutoWeb, formerly Autobytel, on Monday announced the winners of the 2018 AutoWeb Buyer’s Choice Awards, which included mentions for nine different automakers.

Leading the way with the most honors was Honda, which secured five wins for sedan, compact, hatchback, van and small SUV. Honda was also named winner for two overall awards for the Best Car of the Year and for the Best Utility Vehicle of the Year.

Ford wasn’t too far off Honda’s pace, collecting five accolades.

Honorees derived from the submitted price quote requests for specific vehicles from the more than 120 million consumers who visited AutoWeb’s network of automotive websites from October 2016 to October 2017 compared to all other vehicles in their competitive sets.  Data for these awards was collected in 17 shopping sub-categories.

AutoWeb chief editor Joni Gray said, “Consumer interest for Honda is the direct result of the manufacturer’s meaningful redesigns on models in nearly every vehicle category. This, along with its reputation for reliability and connectivity, make a compelling car buyer story.

“As for Ford’s wins, the Mustang and F-Series continue to capture the hearts and minds of U.S. truck and sports car buyers, as much now as in the past,” Gray added.

Jeff Coats, president and chief executive officer of AutoWeb, congratulated all of the manufacturers that made this year’s winning list.

“These awards are especially meaningful for automotive manufacturers and dealers alike, given the fact that tens of millions of consumers have spoken and these are the vehicles they are most interested in buying,” Coats said.  “Congratulations to each of the manufacturers on this list for creating cars that are in the highest demand among today’s car buyers.”

The following are the honorees for the 2018 AutoWeb’s Buyer’s Choice Awards:

Overall Awards Winners
Best Car of the Year: 2018 Honda Civic
Best Truck of the Year: 2018 Ford F-150
Best Utility Vehicle of the Year: 2018 Honda CR-V

Category Awards Winners
Best Compact: 2018 Honda Civic
Best Convertible: 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Best Coupe: 2018 Ford Mustang
Best Hatchback: 2018 Honda Fit
Best Sedan: 2018 Honda Accord
Wagon: 2018 Subaru Outback
Sports Car: 2018 Ford Mustang
Alternative Fuel Vehicle: 2018 Toyota Prius
Luxury Car: 2018 Cadillac CTS Sedan
Small Truck: 2018 Toyota Tacoma
Full Size Truck: 2018 Ford F-150
Heavy-Duty Truck: 2018 Ford F-250
Van: 2018 Honda Odyssey
Small SUV: 2018 Honda CR-V
Midsize SUV: 2018 Kia Sorento
Large SUV/Crossover: 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe
Luxury SUV:  2018 Acura MDX

Honda named most reliable car brand


Honda currently outpaces all brands when it comes to reliability, according to a new analysis based on real-world vehicle repair.

Three of Honda’s most popular models — the CR-V, Civic and Accord — are among the top 10 most reliable cars on’s recently introduced Reliability Rating that is based on vehicle repair orders from the company’s network of over 2,000 shops.

“We wanted to take a fresh, data-driven approach to reliability,” RepairPal chief executive Art Shaw said in a news release.

“While other studies are based on subjective surveys, we are in a unique position with our nationwide network of shops to use actual repair data. The best way we can help consumers is by providing research tools that enable them to make the most informed decisions about their cars.”

The Reliability Rating scores are derived from vehicle repair orders on model years between 2010 through 2017.

Scores range from zero to 5.0. Four-point-five is considered excellent, 4 is considered good, and 3 is average.

Asian automakers Honda, Lexus, Hyundai, Mazda, Kia, Toyota and Acura have an excellent rating of 4.5.

Excellent ratings on its ES, IS and RX models has garnered Lexus the title of second-most-reliable brand and highest-ranked luxury brand.

Additionally, the Toyota Yaris, the only model to score an excellent rating of 5.0 out of 5.0, has been named overall most reliable car due in part to its low cost of ownership.

Behind the top Asian brands, Chrysler and Buick received the highest scores for domestic brands, and Volkswagen took home the top reliability ranking among European automakers.

Each vehicle reliability score is based on the cost, frequency and severity of repairs, according to RepairPal.

Full-size luxury shopper interest increases, alternative fuel remains leading segment


While the alternative fuel segment has remained the leading category in shopper interest growth since January, consumers are also showing increased interest in full-size luxury sedans, according to the latest monthly share of shopper interest data from Jumpstart Automotive Media.

The report reveals that shopper interest in full-size luxury sedans grew a notable 15 percent last month.

The segments increased interest can be attributed to the rise in interest for the upcoming all-new Lexus LS to enter the market next year.

Shopper interest for the luxury model nearly doubled 89 percent in September, according to Jumpstart.

Meanwhile, just percentage points behind Genesis’s overall brand shopper interest at -146 percent, the report suggests that Tesla, the second in overall brand shopper interest at -141 percent, has led alternative fuel segment shopper interest growth since January.

“Despite a continued stable gas price environment, interest in alternative fuel vehicles continues to rise, which is a testament to the sincere interest and quality of vehicles produced by Tesla, as well as continued interest in the new Chevrolet Bolt and Toyota Prius Prime,” Jumpstart strategic insights senior analyst Brian Miller said in a news release.

Additionally, although year-over-year interest in midsize pickups is currently down 11 percent, following interest decline from May through August, the report shows interest in the segment has increased 8 percent following anticipation of the new Nissan Frontier.

Share of interest for the model spiked 40 percent in September, according to Jumpstart.

“It’s interesting to see the Nissan Frontier have such an impact on midsize pickups, which recently has seen share of interest erode due to shoppers being pulled into similarly sized crossovers and SUV segments,” said Miller.

Tesla, Toyota among top 'talk-worthy' brands


When it comes to social influence among automotive brands in the U.S, Tesla Motors and Toyota are a step ahead of many of their respective luxury and mass market competitors. This is according to Engagement Labs' latest TotalSocial ranking that measures brand performance among automotive brands in both face-to-face and social media conversations.

The recent analysis follows the company's first ranking in April. Brands to rank in the top 10 have earned the highest TotalSocial scores.

While Ferrari remains the top-ranked brand, within the last six months, Tesla has distinctly jumped ahead four spots to capture the No. 2 ranking, and Toyota climbed two spots to take third place.

Tesla’s social influence spike during the past six months, particularly offline, can be attributed to the introduction of its first mass-market car, the Model 3.

Though the Model 3 rollout included an opulent live-streamed launch party, despite having no advertising budget, Tesla has leveraged its image as an innovative brand, according to Engagement Labs.

"The automotive industry continues to perform better offline than on social media," Engagement Labs chief executive officer Ed Keller said in a news release. "The ability to drive consumer conversation offline and online has a powerful impact on sales, and automakers aren't yet harnessing the full potential of social influence."

While Tesla has dominated in offline influence, Toyota has stronger online sentiment and online influence scores compared to six months ago.

Another brand to show strong online influence is Kia. Though the brand did not make the top 10 ranking, it currently carries the highest overall online score.

Though other luxury brands such as Audi and BMW, dropped two and three positions, respectively, overall luxury and sports car brands continue to dominate the list.

Meanwhile larger domestic brands such as Chevrolet, Ford and Jeep struggle to make the top 10, Honda remains in the top 10 even after dropping two spots in the past six months.

Top 10 most-searched vehicles in Autotrader history


Coinciding with its 20th anniversary, Autotrader on Monday compiled a list of the 10 most-searched vehicles on its website since it was established in 1997.

Moving past the days of fliers and circulars to reaching shoppers now, attached to their smartphones, Autotrader has hosted more than 2 billion car shoppers during the past 20 years and featured more than 350 million vehicle listings. 

Looking back to when dealers had to use computer modems to upload inventory, the 10 most-searched vehicles on Autotrader include:

1. Ford F-Series
2. Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
3. Jeep Wrangler
4. RAM 1500/2500
5. Chevrolet Camaro
6. Toyota Tacoma
7. Ford Mustang
8. Jeep Grand Cherokee
9. Chevrolet Tahoe
10. Toyota Tundra

This list is based on search history on Autotrader from July 2009 to July of this year.

“Autotrader invented online car shopping and constantly strives to re-imagine the category,” said Brian Geitner, president of Cox Automotive Media Solutions. “The transformation of our brand and the car shopping experience go hand-in-hand, and we’ll continue to adapt and enhance Autotrader as consumer behaviors and appetites change.”

Autotrader’s beginning coincides with the rise of the Internet era and its impact on how consumers received information. Paper-based vehicle listings were steadily eclipsed by a more convenient and up-to-date online inventory experience for both the buyer and the seller.

Video and editorial content, along with user-generated reviews and the introduction of Autotrader’s mobile app soon followed, helping better educate consumers looking to find and buy their next vehicle.

“We’ve always tried to stay ahead of the curve,” said Chuck Nasiadka, director of pre-owned operations with Baglier Automotive in Butler, Pa. “We went online with Autotrader using a laptop and dial-up service somewhere between 2000 and 2001. I’ve placed my faith in the fact they were there first, they have the most knowledge in the space and shoppers still mention Autotrader the most.”

US midsize sedan popularity drops as shoppers shift interest to SUVs


Once the No. 1 top-selling vehicle segment as recently as 2014, midsize sedans have been bumped to fifth by compact SUVs, large trucks, midsize SUVs and compact cars, according to Edmunds. respectively. 

The latest analysis data from Edmund’s shows market share for midsize sedans is now just 10.7 percent.

This is the segment’s lowest share since 1991 when Edmunds first began its tracking, according to the company.

Roughly 24 percent of midsize sedan owners who trade their vehicles in and buy a new car purchase a small SUV, compared to just 16.9 percent of owners three years ago, according to Edmunds.

“While it’s common for consumer tastes to change over time, it’s surprising to see just how quickly shoppers have made the switch from sedans to SUVs,” Edmunds executive director of industry analysis Jessica Caldwell said in a news release.

“As recently as three years ago, the Accord made up nearly 30 percent of all of Honda’s sales in the U.S., and so far in 2017 it’s down to 22 percent. Now that shoppers can now get an SUV for a similar price as a sedan and not have to pay much more at the pump, it’s hard to convince them the smaller vehicle is a better choice,” she explained.

Despite the declining interest in the midsize sedan, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord remain two of the most popular cars in the U.S.

Though popularity for both vehicles has also waned in recent years, Edmunds said the Asian brands have continued to out-perform others within the midsize sedan segment.

“As the pool of buyers shrinks, you have to put out that much better of a product to keep your share of the segment, and that’s exactly what Honda and Toyota are trying to do with the new Accord and Camry,” Caldwell added.

“Both are leaning on edgier design and a sportier image to convince shoppers that their vehicle is the stylish, fun choice in a segment that has a reputation for being overtly practical.”

As shopper interest in SUVs and other segments continues to grow, it’s unlikely the midsize sedan segment will ever have the popularity it once had among American car buyers, according to Edmunds.