Drivers' car interests vary by region

January 7, 2014 12:00 AM

It's not surprising to learn that drivers around the U.S. have different needs and wants when it comes to their vehicles. With changes in climate, geography, road demands and other factors impacting motorists' wish lists, there is a diverse group of vehicles ranking among the most searched automobiles by region. 

Kelley Blue Book recently tracked the more than 10 million visitors to its website, considering the location of these users as well as what vehicles they were searching. The results of this study provide an interesting look at the most popular automobiles by region in the U.S. 

Differences by region
For the study, the U.S. was split into four regions: Northeast, South, Midwest and West. Kelley Blue Book then examined which brands users in one area were more likely to search for and consider than drivers in other regions. The findings suggest that there is a significant difference in what drivers want in their vehicles. For example, people in the West are more likely to consider eco-friendly options, while other regions like to look at locally produced models. 

"It seems what is popular in one region is overlooked in another," said Arthur Henry, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book. "Westerners prefers fuel-efficient brands with style, such as Tesla and Scion, but those same brands are shunned in the South and Northeast. Those living in the South gravitate toward brands that are manufactured in the same region. Shoppers from the Midwest also have an affinity for brands headquartered or produced in their own backyard."

What shoppers want
Drivers in the West were significantly more likely to shop for brands like Tesla and Scion - in fact, they had an 85 percent and 68 percent higher likelihood, respectively, of searching for those automakers than those in other regions. That may be largely due to the fact that states in this area offer tax breaks and incentives for environmentally friendly vehicles, causing many drivers to consider these options. 

The other regions followed similar patterns. In the Midwest, drivers were 64 percent more likely to consider Chrysler vehicles and 53 percent more likely to look at Buick - both Detroit-based brands. The Northeast population was drawn to crossover SUVs. That population had a 56 percent higher likelihood of looking at Subaru, and they also have a greater preference for Volvo vehicles. Both of these brands have a reputation for offering easy vehicle maintenance and great dependability, which is essential in the extreme weather conditions of the region. 

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