This Car Company Has The Best Website

The car company website used to be a place for consumers to find pictures, dimensions, features, and prices of brand models. Eventually, people could “build” cars online. This meant they could add features to base models to get the prices of these. Unfortunately, dealers might have different prices. The auto website was imperfect, but the age of the internet, and then broadband, made it a necessary means to market cars.

The value of the car website to buyers began to change as well. People could order cars online. And the COVID-19 pandemic caused a surge in online buying. Dealers were shuttered, sometimes for months. Pent-up demand drove car sales to recorded levels this year. For many car shoppers, car company websites became a major shopping toll.

Widely regarded car research firm J.D. Power twice a year releases its “U.S. Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study”. The new one’s release period is for the summer. The study looks at how useful these websites are in the shopping process. J.D. Power points out that online shopping has indeed risen. Jon Sundberg, director of digital solutions at J.D. Power, pointed out “This year’s study puts more emphasis on auto shopping tools that give consumers the information they need to make online purchase decisions, allowing us to stay on top of these emerging trends and communicate them to auto manufacturers.” The first version of this study was released in 1999.

The new research is based on several metrics–“information/content; visual appeal; navigation; and speed.” These yardsticks are really not much different from those used to evaluate any consumer website. The sample base covers 11,443 new-vehicle shoppers, who say that will be in the market to buy a car in the next two years. This wave of the study was gathered in April and May

J.D. Power’s maximum score for the “U.S. Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study” is 1000. Even the highest-rated sites fall short of that. The measures are broken into two segments. The first is for “premium” cars. The average for these brands is 714 out of 1,000. For mass-market cars, the average is 710.

The premium car with the best website score was Acura, the luxury division of Honda, with a score of 747, just ahead of BMW at 732. Among mass-market brands the winner was Buick

The auto websites are likely to become even more critical to manufacturers over time. J.D.Power points out that forty-nine percent of shoppers currently buy a car online. That is up eleven percentage points from 18 months a year ago.

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