What’s the Difference Between a Civic Owner and Corolla Owner?

Using social media data to understand the audiences of two of the world’s most popular car models

Few car models are more joined at the hip than the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic. These two mid-size sedans are consistently considered two of the most reliable, longest-lasting models on the market, and their owners are famously loyal. And, to top it off, they are two of the best-selling automobiles in history, with the Corolla taking the top spot overall.

If ever two car models were truly fungible goods, the Civic and Corolla would be those cars.

As such, you’d expect that the audiences for these two models would be remarkably similar. Here we have two nearly interchangeable cars — both extremely popular entry-level options for two of the world’s most storied Japanese carmakers, so it’s safe to assume that the two models’ audiences would be almost entirely overlapping, right?

We wanted to put this theory to the test so we analyzed millions of social media conversations over the last six years to see what we could learn about the two audiences. Specifically, we looked at social media posts, forum conversations, and social media data around age, gender and related interests to get the full picture.

Here’s what we found.

Audience Interests

What else are Corolla and Civic fans interested in? Surprisingly, there is a wide divergence here: Corolla fans are more interested in current events and business topics, while Civic fans talk more about pop music and reality TV.

There are, of course, more dissimilar audiences on social media, but it is surprising how divergent these groups’ discussion topics are. It’s not quite as simple as politics & business vs. music and TV, but it’s pretty close.

Of course, this raises a natural followup question: do the interest differences of these two audiences suggest a more fundamental divide, specifically around age? The inclusion of “homework,” “Snapchat” and “Justin Bieber” on the Civic side reasonably suggests that the Civic audience might be younger. Perhaps that is the true difference between these models.

To answer that question, we looked at the age breakdown for each audience.

Age Breakdown

It turns out that hypothesis has more than a little truth to it. Analyzing the ages of the two audiences shows us that a full 70% of people discussing Civics are under 25. Corollas also have a relatively young audience, but is significantly more evenly balanced — just 53% of people discussing Corollas are under 25.

 

In fact, the Civic had the youngest audience of any of the 25 models we analyzed. The Civic audience’s interests in homework, One Direction and Snapchat are in fact representative of a young audience.

But what about gender? Is there a significant difference in the gender makeup of the two audiences?

As you can see, the Civic audience is more female-heavy, though neither is too much more so than the average for the models we analyzed. Nevertheless, a 6% difference is meaningful, and certainly important for better understanding the landscape of the auto industry.

Conclusion

What did we learn by analyzing the distinct audiences of two of the world’s most similar car models? First and foremost, we learned that, although these models are incredibly similar, their audiences are not.

More specifically, we learned that Civic audiences are younger, more female, and more interested in pop culture.

But this is just the tip of the automotive iceberg. We conducted a full analysis of the five most-discussed car brands in the US. Download it to learn:

  • Which carmaker is viewed the most favorably by consumers?
  • What are the different audiences for each car brand?
  • Which features and characteristics are most associated with each brand?

 

Download the full report here:

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