- TikTok has created a haven for all car enthusiasts to create and view user-tailored automotive content from media, manufacturers, and consumers alike.
- Collecting data through hashtag usage, the most popular cars and manufacturers were determined by way of views running into the billions.
- Performance-oriented vehicles dominated the list with some notable standouts, while luxury brands topped the list of manufacturers.
That’s right, Ford’s barebones light-duty Maverick pickup truck is the most popular car on the video creation and sharing app known as TikTok. With origins in lip-syncing video app Musical.ly, the app has amassed 1 billion users monthly and become a hub for memes, viral trends, and branded content. As the app’s algorithm learns your interests, it tailors the content you see, meaning car enthusiasts can enjoy the vast automotive side of TikTok.
Analyzing the number of views on TikTok using hashtags mentioning each vehicle brand and model, research by Confused.com revealed the most popular car models and brands on the app. The Ford Maverick topped the list, with over 10.9 billion views and a range of media and consumer content. Scroll through #FordMaverick on the app and you’ll find thousands of videos with owners showing off their truck—but none from Ford itself. The official Ford TikTok page is lightly populated and shows no Maverick content, cementing the truck’s popularity as relatively organic.
Another Ford follows the Maverick closely, with the predictably engaging Mustang garnering 10.7 billion views. Sports cars and supercars largely dominate the list, with the Toyota Supra and Nissan GT-R taking the next spots and averaging around 8.4 to 9.2 billion views. Subaru’s WRX and the Chevrolet Camaro appear further down the list, as does the Lamborghini Huracan, with a steep drop in views to anywhere from 4.1 to 2 billion views.
The content that appears under these hashtags is reminiscent of early 2000s street-racing videos while featuring the more modern advent of POV reactions and model-specific fan edits. With the exception of the Huracan, each of these models has a lengthy enthusiast heritage that creates allure and buzz around each new version, particularly with resurrected classics like the Supra and GT-R.
This makes it all the more interesting that Volkswagen’s Passat, a nice but unremarkable family sedan, secured more views than the Lamborghini Huracan at 2.2 billion views. In fairness, the passion of Volkswagen fans across the MK1 Golf rally car to stanced Phaeton spectrum is not to be underestimated. That said, most of the Passat content is wonderfully bizarre, with two popular videos showing an enthusiastic trash-hauling Englishman and some DIY rally light installation.
The data collected also measured the most popular car brands on TikTok and found that BMW amassed a majority of the brand-specific engagement at 53.7 billion views. Mercedes-Benz has the second highest viewer count at 29.8 billion, while Audi and Honda tie for third at 20.4 billion. Ford and Tesla bring up the rear of the data at an analogous 19.1 billion views.
It’s worth noting that BMW is by far the most TikTok active company in the group, with official pages for BMW, BMW USA, Motorrad, and motorsports. The content is traditionally consumer- if not fully enthusiast-focused, and features highly produced racing clips, informational explainers, and nostalgic models. And clearly, it is working for the Bavarians.
As the auto industry re-focuses on the next crop of young folks, Generation Z buyers have increasingly expressed frustration with the car-buying process. Manufacturers have scrapped traditional marketing and incentives to create supposedly relatable and engaging content, from TikToks to metaverse experiences and NFTs. Will this ultimately sell cars to the 20-something buyers of today? Probably not, at least not in the 2022 market of markups and inflation, but the creation of this relevant content from manufacturers isn’t a lost cause. Meeting Gen Z buyers where they exist is an important step, but vehicles like the Maverick that champion affordability and usability still carry the most weight.
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