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January 23, 2009

Honda Ranks Highest among Manufacturer Web Sites in Satisfying New-Vehicle Shoppers -- J.D. Power


J.D. POWER


JD Power


Honda ranks highest among automotive manufacturer Web sites for usefulness in new-vehicle shopping, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study(SM) (MWES)--Wave 1 released today.

The semi-annual study measures the usefulness of automotive manufacturer Web sites during the new-vehicle shopping process. New-vehicle shoppers evaluate Web sites in four key areas: appearance, speed, navigation and information/content.

Honda ranks highest with an index score of 882 on a 1,000-point scale--marking a 14-point increase from the last wave of the study, which was released in June 2008. Following Honda in the rankings and rounding out the top five automotive Web sites are Porsche (867), Mitsubishi (866), Kia (865) and Acura (862).


JD Power


"Honda resolved some minor navigation issues on their Web site, which helped them improve upon their fourth-place ranking in the previous wave," said Scott Kane, senior manager of marketing/media research at J.D. Power and Associates. "Currently, the Honda Web site performs well in all measures and demonstrates particular strength in speed, navigation and demonstrating options, features and specifications."

The study finds that overall site usefulness for the industry as a whole has declined by nine points since June 2008, with 16 manufacturer Web sites demonstrating double-digit decreases. This marks the largest wave-over-wave decrease since the study's inception ten years ago. Overall, the largest declines occur within the "determine monthly payment" and "compare vehicles" attributes of the information/content measure.

"Because of changes in the economic environment, many of today's new-vehicle shoppers are in a much different --and more challenging--financial position than were shoppers in years past, and many auto manufacturers have not prepared their Web sites accordingly," said Kane. "For new-vehicle shoppers, having the ability to go online to easily compare vehicles from various manufacturers, figure out monthly payments and find the best deal possible has always been important. However, in these tough financial times, these kinds of considerations have an even greater impact on the shopping process."

In addition, as marketing budgets for automakers tighten, manufacturer Web sites are becoming less capable of meeting the increasing expectations of shoppers. For example, as some manufacturers have refreshed or redesigned their models, they have limited the variety of vehicle images on their Web sites, or have simplified their photo and video offerings.


Honda

Photo: 2010 Honda Insight EX


"Likely due to budget cuts, some sites that once had beautiful images in city and off-road settings from multiple angles showing off their vehicles' capabilities--things that resonated with consumers--have scaled back on the images offered," said Kane. "A hurdle that manufacturers are facing involves obtaining the high-quality content they need for their Web sites--such as images, video and animations--in a cost-effective way. Finding synergies within their organizations as they create content for various marketing needs--both online and offline--will be critical in continuing to meet new-vehicle shoppers' needs."

The study also finds that the more useful a manufacturer Web site is, the more traffic it is likely to drive to dealerships.

"While it may be tempting for manufacturers to scale back development and maintenance of their Web sites, improved Web site design can translate into a higher volume of sales and a positive return on investment," said Kane. "Now, more than ever, it is essential for manufacturers to be strategic about their marketing efforts to capture their share of the diminishing number of new-vehicle shoppers."

The 2009 Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study--Wave 1 is based on evaluations gathered in November 2008 from more than 11,400 new-vehicle shoppers who indicated they would be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months.

Manufacturer Web Site Ranking
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)

• Honda ---------- 882
• Porsche ---------- 867
• Mitsubishi ---------- 866
• Kia ---------- 865
• Acura ---------- 862
• Lincoln ---------- 861
• BMW ---------- 859
• Lexus ---------- 859
• MINI ---------- 859
• Mazda ---------- 856
• Infiniti ---------- 853
• Mercury ---------- 852
• Jeep ---------- 851
• Ford ---------- 850
• Suzuki ---------- 848
• Cadillac ---------- 846
• Saturn ---------- 845
• Subaru ---------- 845
• Toyota ---------- 845
• Chrysler ---------- 841
• Dodge ---------- 840
• Industry Average ---------- 840
• HUMMER ---------- 837
• Mercedes-Benz ---------- 837
• Nissan ---------- 836
• Land Rover ---------- 835
• Saab ---------- 834
• Hyundai ---------- 833
• Volvo ---------- 833
• Volkswagen ---------- 829
• Buick ---------- 827
• Chevrolet ---------- 827
• GMC ---------- 821
• Jaguar ---------- 813
• Pontiac ---------- 801
• Audi ---------- 793
• smart ---------- 789
• Scion ---------- 773

Source: J.D. Power and Associates

|GlobalGiants.com|


Our Opinion

"Do not frustrate the earnest visitors to the localized Web site of your car brand by not noticeably providing there the addresses of your relevant dealers."

© GlobalGiants.Com



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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 12:11 PM | Link to this Post






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