COSTA MESA, Calif. — announced that its brand share report for the fourth quarter of 2011 revealed that domestic, Japanese and European brands realized increases in consumer interest on its website. Korean brands saw a slight decrease in share of consumer interest during the latter part of the year.

Domestic brands, led by Chevrolet, experienced the biggest increase of overall brand share with a 1 percent gain in consumer interest, as website analysts continued to see strong consumer interest in the Chevrolet Cruze and Chevrolet Sonic sub-compact.

“This has been a strong year for the domestic brands, as they have continually dominated consumer interest on the site,” said Troy Snyder, director of product development for “Surely the production issues that hampered the Japanese manufacturers aided this increase in share for the Big Three, however, it will be interesting to see if they can continue the momentum now that production issues are resolved.”

The top five most researched brands on for the fourth quarter mirror the third quarter results, which also had Chevrolet claiming the top spot. The brand was followed by Ford, Toyota, Nissan and Honda. While the rankings are the same, Toyota increased its share by almost half of a percentage point, as Camry gained consumer interest while Nissan and Honda fell slightly during the same period as less traffic was recorded for Altima and Civic.

Echoing the brand share results for the fourth quarter, a consumer poll on found that 49 percent of car shoppers indicated that their next car will be a domestic model followed by European makes at 22 percent, Japanese makes at 18 percent and Korean models at 11 percent.

Korean brands Hyundai and Kia fell slightly during the fourth quarter, while the European makes increased by a percentage point. Chevrolet owned 14.8 percent of overall consumer interest on during the fourth quarter of 2011, Ford 13.3 percent, Toyota 10.4 percent, Nissan 6.1 percent and Honda 5.7 percent.

While Hyundai and Kia have consistently ranked No. 6 and No. 7 in terms of brand market share on the site throughout the year, GMC moved into the seventh spot in quarter four, pushing Kia down a spot. 

Lexus saw a 44 percent brand share increase from the third to fourth quarter, moving from No. 20 to No. 16 in ranking, according to the website. Lexus sales for the year fell 13 percent, which attributes to the production issues caused by the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The top five luxury makes in overall interest for the fourth quarter were BMW (2.5 percent), Mercedes (2.1 percent), Cadillac (1.8 percent), Lexus (1.7 percent) and Audi (1.4 percent).

Overall site traffic increased 17 percent from the third to fourth quarter, mirroring a surge in sales during the latter part of the year, according to Interest for domestics was the highest of the year at 45.9 percent vs. 44.9 percent in quarter three. 

Both consumer interest and sales for Japanese brands increased in the fourth quarter, with sales showing a slight uptick by 0.5 percent and consumer brand interest increasing by 0.25 percent, according to the website. Analysts saw the stabilization of production levels during the fourth quarter as a positive sign for the Japanese makes moving into 2012.

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