Research: Cars with the most history checks in 2023 revealed

Karolis Bareckas

Karolis Bareckas

Car preferences in different parts of Europe vary – the same model may be desired in one country but ignored in another. Climate, urbanization, purchasing power, infrastructure, and the local automotive industry are among the factors influencing the popularity of specific models in different countries.

So which models did people check on carVertical the most? We analyzed thousands of history reports to find the favorites across 15 markets.

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Research findings in a nutshell

  • The Volkswagen Golf was the most popular model on carVertical in 2023.
  • 9 of 10 most popular cars are from German manufacturers: Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz.
  • BMW is the most searched car brand in the research (14.7% of all checked cars).
  • Latvians love BMW the most – one-quarter of all history checks performed in the country.
  • 48.7% of Golfs in the research were damaged.
  • The highest average damage value among the cars with the most history checks belongs to the BMW 5 Series – 4,602 EUR per accident.
  • 70.5% of all BMW 5 Series models had been damaged in the past.

German cars still dominate the European market

The Volkswagen Golf was the most searched car model across all analyzed countries – 4.91% of all history checks performed on carVertical in 2023. The BMW 3 Series is close behind – 4.89%, followed by Volkswagen Passat – 3.75%, BMW 5 Series – 3.68%, and Audi A4 – 3.53%.

Among the top 10 most searched models – 9 belong to German manufacturers: Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz. With Germany's massive automotive industry feeding the rest of the continent with second-hand cars, this is no surprise. The Czech Skoda is the only non-German brand on the list.

The Volkswagen Golf is the most popular car in Spain, France, Croatia, Serbia, and the UK. It has a strong and time-tested reputation in the used car market, starting back in 1974 when the 1st generation Golf was introduced.

There are some exceptions to German dominance, like Czechia, where the native Skoda Octavia takes the top spot with a share of 13.1%. Italians are also faithful to their local automotive industry, with the Fiat 500 being the most searched model on carVertical – 6.7% of all history checks.

Estonians and Lithuanians value the Audi A6 the most, Poles and Romanians – the Audi A4.

most searched cars

BMW leads the list of the most popular car brands

When it comes to the most-investigated car brands, nobody can beat the popularity of BMW – 14.7% of all history checks on carVertical. Volkswagen is also a desired car brand with a share of 14.3%, followed by Audi (11.9%), Mercedes-Benz (8.4%), and Ford (5%).

Latvians are the biggest fans of BMW – almost one-quarter of all history checks in the country. Only the British have a similar level of sympathy for BMW vehicles (17.7% of all cars checked), suggesting that the love for beemers extends from one side of the continent to the other.

However, BMW is not a brand that will impress Italians. Among the most popular brands of 2023 in Italy, BMW finishes 11th.

In general, BMW, Audi, and Volkswagen were among the top 10 in most countries. Whereas Mercedes-Benz is more searched for in Southern Europe, such as Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and some Balkan countries.

most searched car brands

Is there a risk when buying a popular car?

When you’re searching for a popular model like the Volkswagen Golf, you’ll face a vast selection of cars. It will also be easy to find spare parts for such a vehicle, and you won’t have any problems selling it after several years of ownership.

However, wrongdoers know the cars buyers value the most, so they often falsify a vehicle’s history to earn more money.

3.6% of all the Golfs checked on carVertical had a clocked mileage. The situation with the BMW 3 Series is even worse – 6.3%. The share of clocked Volkswagen Passat models was 4.7%, BMW 5 Series – 7.6%, and Audi A4 – 4.3%. However, even less popular models are clocked, suggesting buyers should be aware when shopping in the second-hand vehicle market.

Damages among the most searched cars are also common. Almost half of all Golfs were damaged (48.7%) in the past. This can mean anything from a scratched bumper to structural damages, making a vehicle unsafe to drive.

BMWs attract inexperienced drivers who like to step on the gas pedal too much. It’s no surprise that 64.4% of the 3 Series and 70.5% of the 5 Series had damage records. 52.6% of Passats and 54.6% of A4s were also damaged.

The average damage value among the most searched models varies from 3,385 EUR for the Passat to 4,602 EUR for the 5 Series.

clocked and damaged cars

Buying a car with clocked mileage and damages can be avoided

Whether you’re hunting for a popular car like the Volkswagen Golf or something more niche, you should be careful. Buying a vehicle with a clocked mileage or hidden damages might mean a lot of money for maintenance and repairs in the long run. Not to mention that it may be hard to sell such a car for the price you’ve paid.

damage records

Here’s how the whole buying process should look like:

  1. Inspect the car’s description and photos on the classified ads portal. The more information the current owner provides about the vehicle’s condition and previous repairs, the better.
  2. Compare the prices of the same model with the same engine and equipment list to understand the price range.
  3. Check the car’s VIN on carVertical to reveal mileage records, damage history, photos, ownership changes, theft records, and more. Sometimes, you can find the VIN in the ad. If not, ask the owner yourself. A history check saves time, as you don’t need to meet the owner in person. You can check a car’s history and decide whether you should continue or look for another model.
  4. If everything seems fine, meet the seller and perform a test drive. Try all the gears and listen for any noises coming from the engine compartment and suspension. Head to the highway and see how the car handles at high speeds.
  5. Bring the car to a mechanic so they can hook up diagnostic tools, check for rust, and inspect the overall condition of the car.

Buying a used car can be exhausting and time-consuming, so some patience is required. However, with the right tools and attitude, you can mitigate the risk of getting a piece of junk.

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Our research examined actual car history reports acquired by the company’s users from January 2023 to December 2023. The car brands, models, and relevant statistics were categorized by country, turned into percentages, and ranked. All facts are based on data from our vehicle history reports.

Karolis Bareckas

Article by

Karolis Bareckas

Karolis is an automotive writer focusing on the industry part of things. His goal is to educate readers and foster transparency in the used car market. With a passion for storytelling and extensive experience writing in a variety of fields, Karolis enjoys sharing his knowledge and spreading the word about automotive and tech topics. He’s also a a big fan of muscle cars and long road trips.