April 14, 2005, 12:00 AM

Automakers’ web sites get better, says new survey from J.D. Power

Even though Internet automotive shoppers are more demanding in what they want from automotive sites, they also continue to give record-high ratings to the web sites of vehicle manufacturers, according to a new study from J.D. Power and Associates.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Even though Internet automotive shoppers are more demanding in what they want from automotive sites, they also continue to give record-high ratings to the web sites of vehicle manufacturers, according to a new study from J.D. Power and Associates.

The study measures web site usefulness based on consumer ratings of three main components: relevance, navigation and appearance/presentation.

The study shows an average usefulness index rating of 799 out of a possible score of 1,000 for the industry-up 11 points from a similar measurement taken last fall by J.D. Power.

54% of all new vehicle buyers visit at least one manufacturer’s web site before purchasing a car, truck or sport utility vehicle. The information content provided by manufacturer sites continues to flourish, with the quantity of pictures and videos continuing to increase, according to the study. Many sites now offer tools to help shoppers find the vehicle to best meet their needs. Once bland, lists of vehicle options and features now frequently include pictures, videos and interactive demos explaining the function and benefits of these items, says J.D. Power.

"Manufacturers want shoppers to know how their vehicles will enhance the driver’s quality of life," says Dennis Galbraith, senior director of automotive marketing solutions at J.D. Power. " Manufacturer web sites can deliver volumes of information in ways that are fun and can make even complex safety features easier to understand."

Hummer leads the industry with an index score of 828, based on the 1,000-point scale. Visitors to Hummer.com rate it highly in ease of navigation and consistent aesthetic appeal throughout the site. Also receiving high scores were Acura (821); Honda (820); Pontiac (817); and Cadillac (816).

The J.D. Power study is based on evaluations by more than 11,500 new-vehicle shoppers who indicated they would be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months.

 

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