- Christmas is only a few weeks away, and we always wonder what to get our petrolhead loved ones.
- Auto superfans can't get enough of these three top brands.
- The most expensive auto merchandise items include R62 000 Ferrari trench coats and R26 800 Porsche skis.
The countdown to Christmas has begun, and if you're battling with gift ideas for a car lover, forget the mandatory car cleaning kit - although it is always appreciated. You can never go wrong with merchandise.
Like sports teams and music acts, merchandise is a hugely profitable way to help dedicated fans show off their allegiance to their favourite motoring companies - from hats and t-shirts to artwork and miniature car models.
If you're looking for the perfect present for the petrolhead in your life, there's no better place than a car brand's online merchandise store. Most dealerships also have in-house merch stores, albeit not always fully stocked. And we're also not just talking t-shirts, golf tees, or coffee mugs. No, while clothing might be the most popular items, there are also timepieces, Lego sets and snow skis - of all things.
Volkswagen or Toyota?
But which automaker has the merchandise that car lovers want the most? Here in South Africa, my first thought would be Volkswagen or Toyota since they're the most popular brands in the country, just based on monthly car sales. At the same time, BMW is one of the most-searched brands in the used car markets, along with Ford - so they would rank tops too. However, Auto Trader UK has investigated which auto brands are most in demand for their merchandise globally.
Looking at Etsy data, Google search volumes and visits to their online merchandise stores, Auto Trader has found that Jeep, Ferrari, and BMW top the merchandise charts.
With items like Porsche branded skis at R26 800, Lamborghini Lego priced at R7 240 and Ferrari leather trench coats costing R62 000, auto merchandise is big business. According to Auto Trader, every year, there are over ten million searches on Google for auto-branded products and more than 540 000 auto-branded gifts on Etsy.
The most popular auto brands for merchandise are a mixed bag of luxury supercars and everyday best sellers, with Ford, Volvo, Tesla, Toyota and Porsche all featuring in the top 10. Here's which brands top the rankings all over the world.
15 Land Rover
But what merchandise do these popular brands offer?
According to Auto Trader, Jeep's merchandise options reflect its outdoor values, with a range of robust outdoor adventure kit bags and backpacks (priced between R1 250 and R1 860), through to woolly hats, wooden pencils and camping mugs.
On the other end of the scale, Ferrari's merchandise includes Prancing Horse jewellery (starting at R4 960), avant-garde leather and fur coats (costing more than R62 000) and metallic tote bags (priced at R39 200).
Tesla's official merchandise includes a range of men, women and children's apparel, with adult Christmas jumpers (circa R1 150), bomber jackets (R3 400) and kids' beanie hats (R434).
Toyota's official merchandise is launching soon and promises sports bags, water bottles and jackets. Still, in the meantime, anyone needing to find a gift for a Toyota fan can find branded vinyl stickers, art prints and even Toyota Christmas sweaters on Etsy.
6. Aston Martin
8. Alfa Romeo
Fans of F1 may be boosting the merchandise demand for supercars such as Ferrari and McLaren. Still, despite that, Porsche remains one of the most aspirational luxury supercar brands, with nearly 400 000 Google searches for Porsche-branded products every year.
Superfans of Porsche can purchase their Chronograph 718 RS 60 Spyder wristwatch for R11 880 or a complete winter sports kit; jackets, salopettes, and helmets are all available on their website, along with the aforementioned set of Porsche branded skis starting at R26 800.
While sweaters and hoodies tend to be the most popular merchandise items for supercars, other interesting luxury car products include McLaren headphones (R5,350), and Bugatti cufflinks (R5,170).
Tesla offers a collection of up-market leisure wear, and Karma Automotive also provides its fans with a selection of high-end polo shirts, water bottles and Bluetooth speakers. As well as the standard socks and baseball caps, Sweden's EV outfit Polestar offers its fanbase a range of high-performance mountain bikes and everyday socks and baseball caps.
Erin Baker, Auto Trader Editorial Director who ran the research, commented: "We know that car owners can become very passionate about their favourite brands, and with Christmas coming up, we were interested to see which car manufacturer might have the most gifts under the tree!
"It's brilliant to see a mix of supercar and best-seller brands in the top fanbase spots, and this is a great reminder of just how important a part cars play in our lives."