Is there any truth in our common perceptions about popular brands?

Cars are sold on their public perceptions just as much as what goes on under the hood. It’s one of the universal truths of the car industry that all cars - whether brand new, used, or salvage vehicles - rely on emotional connections and associations to attract buyers. This, combined with our own experiences of individual models, means that over time we form common perceptions of car brands and models.

Common search engines queries can be an interesting reflection of this, and a quick look at some of the most popular car-related search queries on Google contains some fascinating insights! So, this week we’re taking a moment to examine some of the most common questions Google finds itself answering, and look at whether there’s really any truth in them.

1. Are Land Rovers really unreliable?

Land Rovers are classed as luxury vehicles here in the UK, which makes it all the more unfortunate that the brand seems to have earned itself such an unfavourable reputation amongst consumers. However, if you’re considering buying a Land Rover then don’t dismiss it offhand. When it comes to individual Land Rovers - to use a common motoring term - your mileage may vary.

Historically, they’ve not scored fantastically in consumer surveys, but interestingly enough it appears to be mainly the newer models which score on the lower end of the scale. There’s actually a relatively simple explanation for this - the thing with luxury vehicles is that they often tend to be host to cutting-edge, brand new or experimental technology. And the thing with experimental technology is that it can quite easily go wrong. In other words, it’s not the vehicles themselves that seem to be unreliable, but the electrics in them, which can lead to expensive repairs. Funnily enough, it’s this same quirk which means older Land Rover models are quite consistently rated as being more reliable!

2. Why are Audi cars so expensive?

This one’s a slightly tricky one, as ‘expensive’ is a relative term. A packet of sweets can be expensive, in the same way that a Harrier jet can be expensive. In order to address the question, then, we do have to apply our own interpretation of the word - in this case, here at RAW2K we can reasonably assume that Audis are judged ‘expensive’ in comparison to regular commuter or family cars.

We’ll give you the brief rundown - the Audi brand is actually part of Volkswagen, which is known by the general public for producing a solid range of reliable and affordable family cars, generally balancing fuel economy with a great overall practicality. However, within Volkswagen, Audi is positioned as a luxury vehicle, which means that it’s competing with the more high-end vehicles from other brands. Therefore, its in-car comfort, ride smoothness and technology is all at a naturally higher tier than other vehicles in Volkswagen’s offering, contributing to a higher price - so it’s easy to see why many buyers would view it as being rather more expensive.

(However, if you’re in the market for a new Audi without the eye-watering prices, we’ve got great news for you - you can save hundreds or even thousands on a variety of used, seized or salvage Audis in our online car auctions right here at RAW2K!)

3. Why are Toyota so reliable?

The public impression of Toyota is looking far more rosy. Reliability is one of the top influences on our car buying decisions, so it says something about Toyota’s reputation amongst buyers that people seem to assume its reliability as a given. (It’s important for us to mention that this is just one interpretation of the data, of course, but it seems to be the most likely one - it certainly supports our experience of the buyers who frequent our very own Toyota online car auctions here at RAW2K!) The reliability of a car directly affects its overall value for money - a car that breaks down constantly will incur frequent repair costs that will quickly eclipse any money you may have saved while buying it. This isn’t always a huge problem for many of our buyers, of course, since lots are professional mechanics looking to fix the car up themselves and sell on for a profit.

4. Why are Ford cars good?

This is another one which could be either welcome or unwelcome news for Ford, depending on your interpretation! It may be that searchers are taking the quality of Ford cars as a given, and are just curious as to the specifics - or it could be suspicious buyers who are wondering whether to trust the marketing of this global car brand, or the word-of-mouth of their friends and family. (Word-of-mouth can be a big risk to base major decisions on, especially when it comes to buying a car.

However, personally we think it’s likely to be that searchers are taking the quality of Ford cars as a given. For proof, you need to look no further than the humble Ford Focus, which has consistently been one of the top selling cars in the UK for years now. Whatever your personal opinion of Ford vehicles, there’s no denying that we rely on them a whole lot here in the UK - once again, they provide that perfect balance of practicality and convenience that so many car buyers are looking for.

5. Why are Dodge chargers so popular?

To be honest, this one sounds like searchers are more perplexed than anything! It’s important to note that this query isn’t derived from global searches (i.e. people using Google all over the world), but UK-based ones. With that in mind, the context for the query suddenly seems a lot clearer! To Americans, the appeal of the Dodge charger may seem obvious. As a descendant of the iconic muscle cars that were a staple of the US automotive industry in the 1970s, they also have an enduring cultural influence. Appearances on shows like the Dukes of Hazzard brought their appeal to the mainstream, and they still have an enduring nostalgic value for countless Americans. Not to mention, by all accounts the modern versions are quite rugged and practical to drive!

However, it’s probably no surprise that so much of this is lost on us here in the UK, as their influence in our own automotive history is nowhere near as enduring. That might be something to do with our relatively mild weather, which means means that the raw power and ruggedness of classic muscle cars somewhat goes to waste here!

If you’re a Dodge enthusiast yourself, unfortunately you’ll be very hard pressed to find any American muscle cars in our stock of used, seized or salvage vehicles - but we’ve got plenty of choice for you besides! You’ll find makes and models from leading manufacturers like Renault, Peugeot and Vauxhall - just to name a few - so why not take a look around, and see what you can uncover?