The US automotive industry is one of the largest spenders on digital advertising, spending over $7 billion in 2015 and projected to grow significantly in coming years. The goal, of course, is to grow their digital exposure footprint and their sales numbers, and the Swoop Digital Brand Exposure Index (DBEI) is designed to create an objective ranking of automotive models and brands with the most exposure within the online auto world. Swoop has the largest network of automotive sites in the world, and the Swoop Search Engine extracts brand and model data from every page, giving us an unfiltered look at organic automotive interest in the United States.

So in Q4, 2016, who did the best in the battle of the organic digital footprint?

Most Visible Automakers

After losing the top spot in our Q3 visibility report, Ford is back on top as the brand with the most visibility among all its models. This means that the combination of organic pageviews on articles referencing Ford vehicles is the highest among all automakers in Q4 2016:

Most visible automotive brands - Q4 2016

Comparing data with the previous quarter, we can see how some of the most visible brands did overall versus previous data:

Brand visibility swings - Q4 2016

Most Visible Automotive Models

As the brand visibility is a roll-up of the visibility of all models, our next step is to break down the most visible individual automotive models for Q4 2016:

Most visible auto models - Q4 2016

There’s not a ton of change in the rankings – the top 6 remain the same as in Q3, while the Toyota Tundra swaps positions with the Honda Civic and the Dodge Charger jumps into the top 10 at the expense of the Chevrolet Camaro. Pickups and sports cars remain dominant.

Big Gainers in Visibility

As we did last time, we can now chart which vehicles see the biggest gains in visibility from quarter to quarter. As you may recall, the Porsche Panamera, Nissan Sentra and Kia Sportage sat atop the big gainers in Q3 – let’s see who made the list in Q4:

Top gains in auto visibility - Q4 2016

Congratulations this month to the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, which gained a whopping 153 spots over its previous-quarter visibility rank. We did limit the Top Gainers to vehicles in this quarter’s top 100. And while no one brand saw as many top gainers this quarter as Nissan’s three in Q3, GM’s brands combined for a few, with the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Cadillac CT6 and Chevrolet Bolt all seeing impressive gains.

Gainer of the Quarter

Congratulations Mercedes-Benz, your B class picked up a ton of new visibility in Q4. With a ton of news articles around its launch in early December, the combination of a new plug-in car and the Mercedes-Benz brand proved to be a big driver of hype.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class - Visibility Gainer of the Quarter, Q4 2016

Share of Voice by Segment

As we do every quarter, we’ve chosen seven segments of automobile type to break down Share of Voice: Compact Cars, Mid-Sized Cars, Sports Cars, Pickup Trucks, SUV/Crossovers, Alternative-Fuel Vehicles and Luxury Cars. Here you can see how much a particular model dominates its segment, which segments have the most competition, and which manufacturers have taken over a particular segment:

Compact Cars

Most visible compact car models - Q4 2016

Not much change at the top, but Hyundai adds two vehicles – the Veloster and Accent – to the top 10 at the expense of the Mitsubishi Lancer and Ford Focus.

Mid-Sized/Full-Sized Cars

Most visible mid- and full-sized cars, Q4 2016

We’ve been calling this segment “mid-sized,” but it’s been pointed out – correctly – that we’ve combined the mid- and full-sized segments into one, which we will continue to do. This segment has actually seen no shuffling of the top 10 since last quarter, although the Accord’s lead has shrunk by about two percentage points.

Sports Cars

Most visible sports cars - Q4 2016

Looks like we might have a fight a-brewing among the American muscle cars – the Dodge Charger has passed the Chevrolet Camaro to take over 3rd place in the sports car segment. The Corvette and Mustang still sit atop the class, and iconic American cars keep dominating the most-visible sports car list.

Pickup Trucks

Most visible pickup trucks - Q4 2016

Correcting a mistake from last quarter, we’ve removed the GMC Yukon – which is quite obviously a SUV, not a pickup – from this graph. All in all, other than correcting our own clerical issue, this particular top-10 has not changed.


Most visible SUVs and crossovers - Q4 2016

The other outcome of our Yukon correction is, GMC Yukon, welcome to the SUV/Crossover top 10! Also, the Ford Edge, our second-highest-gaining individual model, jumps straight into position as the 5th-most-visible SUV/Crossover in Q4 2016. Among the shuffling, the Chevrolet Suburban drops out of the top 10 and the two Subarus on the list flip-flop positions. Jeep continues to own the top of the SUV/Crossover visibility index.

Luxury Cars

Most visible luxury cars - Q4 2016

Minimal changes here, the Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class swap positions, as do the Jaguar XJ and BMW M5.

Luxury SUVs/Crossovers

Most visible luxury SUVs and crossovers - Q4 2016

Not a ton of change here, either – the Cadillac Escalade has hopped past the Porsche Cayenne, while Audi’s Q5 and Q7 switched positions.

The Top 100 Automotive Models for Q4 2016

Rank Make Model Percentage
1 Chevrolet Corvette 6.88%
2 Ford F150 6.87%
3 Ford Mustang 5.87%
4 Jeep Wrangler 4.67%
5 Dodge Ram 3.59%
6 Jeep Cherokee 2.75%
7 Toyota Tundra 2.29%
8 Honda Civic 2.16%
9 Dodge Charger 1.84%
10 Chevrolet Silverado 1.77%
11 Subaru Outback 1.75%
12 Subaru Forester 1.74%
13 Chevrolet Camaro 1.69%
14 Ford Edge 1.49%
15 Honda Cr-V 1.42%
16 Chevrolet Tahoe 1.39%
17 Honda Accord 1.29%
18 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 1.23%
19 Mercedes-Benz B-Class 1.23%
20 Mazda Mazda3 1.20%
21 Chevrolet Colorado 1.15%
22 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 1.10%
23 Honda CR-Z 1.05%
24 Nissan GT-R 1.04%
25 Nissan Altima 1.02%
26 Volkswagen Passat 1.01%
27 Chevrolet Impala 0.96%
28 Toyota Rav4 0.92%
29 GMC Yukon 0.82%
30 Audi A4 0.80%
31 Nissan Maxima 0.72%
32 Chevrolet Cruze 0.69%
33 Land Rover Range Rover 0.68%
34 Mazda Mazda6 0.67%
35 Toyota Camry 0.65%
36 Audi A6 0.59%
37 Chevrolet Malibu 0.59%
38 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 0.59%
39 Toyota 4runner 0.58%
40 Jaguar XJ 0.57%
41 BMW M5 0.55%
42 Toyota Corolla 0.54%
43 BMW 5 Series 0.54%
44 Ford Taurus 0.53%
45 Dodge Durango 0.52%
46 Mazda Miata 0.51%
47 Chevrolet Suburban 0.50%
48 Porsche Macan 0.49%
49 Ford Super Duty 0.48%
50 Volkswagen Touareg 0.46%
51 Hyundai Elantra 0.44%
52 Kia Optima 0.43%
53 Acura MDX 0.43%
54 Toyota Sienna 0.42%
55 Subaru WRX 0.42%
56 Jeep Renegade 0.41%
57 Hyundai Santa Fe 0.40%
58 Ford Escape 0.38%
59 Porsche Cayman 0.38%
60 Audi A5 0.38%
61 Jeep Patriot 0.38%
62 Toyota Tacoma 0.38%
63 Jaguar F-Pace 0.35%
64 Nissan Murano 0.35%
65 Audi S6 0.31%
66 Toyota Highlander 0.31%
67 Volkswagen Beetle 0.31%
68 Kia Sorento 0.31%
69 Cadillac Escalade 0.31%
70 Kia Soul 0.30%
71 Porsche Cayenne 0.30%
72 Honda HR-V 0.30%
73 Audi Q5 0.30%
74 Jeep Grand Cherokee 0.29%
75 GMC Acadia 0.29%
76 Audi Q7 0.28%
77 Nissan Versa 0.28%
78 Hyundai Genesis 0.27%
79 Mercedes-Benz SLK 0.27%
80 Audi S5 0.26%
81 Porsche 911 0.25%
82 Hyundai Veloster 0.25%
83 Audi RS-7 0.25%
84 Audi A8 0.24%
85 Chrysler Pacifica 0.24%
86 Audi S4 0.24%
87 Hyundai Accent 0.24%
88 Volkswagen Jetta 0.24%
89 Audi SQ5 0.24%
90 Nissan Pathfinder 0.23%
91 Mitsubishi Lancer 0.23%
92 GMC Canyon 0.23%
93 Scion tC 0.23%
94 Scion xB 0.23%
95 Ford Transit 0.22%
96 Nissan Armada 0.22%
97 Subaru Impreza 0.21%
98 Audi S8 0.20%
99 Ford Fusion 0.20%
100 Mazda CX-5 0.20%