In a semiannual study done in May, J. D. Power & Associates found that the specific designs of automotive web sites are playing a key role in consumer sentiment. An announcement this week shows the results of the 2011 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study are in, and customers are responding to the online venues of the full range of auto makers with significant volume on the North American market.
A 1000-point scale measures items like comfort and utility for auto web sites. Honda won with 821 points; Ford, Nissan, Lincoln and Porsche all tied for second place with 809. Acura came in close with 808, and Hyundai followed with 807.
Further on down the list, some of the bottom ranked sites revealed just who is slacking in the web department, but the roster includes a mix of big brands and more obscure manufacturers. The “smart” car brand got 777 points, and Chevrolet scored 771, significantly less than GMC at 800. Chrysler scored even lower, at 737 points, where the Jeep site got an 803. Other low numbers included 746 for luxury car maker Jaguar, and the SAAB brand bottomed out with 730, followed only by Scion with 718.
What do customers look at when they rank a web site? According to J. D. Power & Associates, there’s the issue of ease of use, or lack of “clutter” on the site. Customers like to be able to pull up key details like MPG easily, and companies that tend to hide this info under excessive tags and tabs are probably going to get demerits. J. D. Power & Associates researchers found that color schemes are also important: companies who use quality web design firms can draw in customers with bright, good looking interfaces.
In reality, auto company web sites and brand sites are more than just places to take a look at a vehicle. These web venues provide critical pricing information, as well as incentive offers and financing deals. If you are in the market for a new vehicle, make sure you check out the offers section of a manufacturer’s site when you browse online, to get the best current deals on any kind of transportation.