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The Unofficial State Cars of America

The Unofficial State Cars of America


If you were to take a list of the most popular cars in each state in the U.S., it'd be a pretty monotonous list. A bunch of Ford F-150s, some Chevy Silverado and Ram pickups, the odd Honda Accord or Toyota Camry here or there.

But we were curious: What car was the most distinctive in each state? What model of car did, say, California buy far more often than any other state in the Union? We turned to auto analyst Tom Libby of IHS Automotive to help us crunch the numbers. First, Libby pulled data about the make and model of every car sold in the U.S., and calculated the popularity of each by percentage using registration data. Then, he did the same at the state level, and compared each state to the national average.

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No Tesla for Cali?!?!?

"GM sells more than 9 million vehicles a year, while Tesla plans to build between 50,000 and 55,000 cars [in 2015]."

That would suggest fewer than 100,000 Teslas in the whole world, let alone California.

Source is "Tesla loses $4000 on every car it builds" from June 2015:

The Tesla S, no less!

In Washington, the Nissan Leaf sells at 407 percent of the national average. In addition, three electric vehicles, including the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and Tesla Model S, each sell at a rate more than twice their national rates. This is likely because in Washington, all electric vehicles are exempt from state motor vehicle sales tax and use tax.

Washington makes sense but the Nissan Leaf in Georgia?! No sense. 

And yeah that Tesla S. No sense!

Yes, but Tesla is the crowd/emotional favorite, numbers be damned!

Elon Musk wants 1 million Teslas on the road by 2020:

Stunned:  In Kansas, the Audi S6 sells at 243 percent of the national average. In Kansas the Porsche 918 also sells at more than twice its national rate—though there are only 190 Porsche 918s in the entire U.S.

Okay, why is that? Is there an Audi / Porsche manufacturing facility in Kansas?

And why is BMW so popular in Florida?

The Audi S6 is pretty special!

I can see the appeal of a 7 series BMW for the elderly driver.  :)

7 series BMW is popular in Louisiana too.

But why does Kansas have so many Audi S6's?

Even Virginia is only into S3's. 

Isn't this map about relative numbers, not actual numbers?  Fun with statistics?

Yes, but it's still amazing that relatively Kansas is into Audi S6's don't you think?

Yes, I am stunned.

In all this focus on Kansas I missed that the S6 is also the favored car of New Jersey.

I missed it too.  Back to the map!

New Jersey, Virginia, and Kansas are the Audi triangle!

Zero inferences can be drawn!

That's what makes this so fascinating. 

and where is my audi r8??  ;)

I wonder what the numbers would look like it if we re-ran it with only data from the last two years and only premium vehicles.   You could account for dollar amount spent as they are only 18% of the car market, but account for $100B in sales.

Emily and Greg, both good questions. I have no answers. 

i must say, there are a LOT of bmw 760s in my west palm beach area.  even my 5-year-old has commented on it!  he asked why everyone has the same car!!

I too wonder why that car. Of all BMWs, even. 

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