Hummer.com ranks highest among automotive manufacturer websites for usefulness in new-vehicle shopping for a second consecutive time, according to the JD Power and Associates 2008 Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study (MWES) – Wave 1.
The semi-annual study measures the usefulness of manufacturer websites during the new-vehicle shopping process. New-vehicle shoppers evaluate websites in four key areas: appearance, speed, navigation, and information/content.
Hummer ranks highest with an index score of 867 on a 1,000-point scale – a two-point decline from the last wave of the study, which was released in July 2007.
“Hummer continues to set the standard with a website that satisfies shoppers through fast performance and streamlined navigation,” said Steve Witten, executive director of marketing/media research at J.D. Power and Associates.
Following Hummer in the top three rankings are Lincoln and Kia. Lincoln ranks among the top three for the first time; its website provides a strong example of robust content that manufacturers are increasingly beginning to offer on their vehicle model pages, JD Power said.
“Traditional point-and-click website navigation is changing as a growing number of shoppers use search engines to link directly to automotive manufacturer model pages rather than the home pages,” said Witten. “As a result, manufacturer vehicle model pages are beginning to contain more functionality than ever before. Lincoln’s website, in particular, combines rich content on its model pages with fast, clear navigation.”
Premium vs. Non-Premium Vehicle Sites
The study also found that the average index score for websites of premium vehicle manufacturers has surpassed the average score for sites of non-premium manufacturers for the first time since Wave 1 of the 2006 study.
Among those non-premium sites that show the largest decreases since the previous wave of the study, one of the reasons for declines tends to be a failure to successfully integrate new model-page content features such as video and interactive demonstrations.
“Some bottom-performing sites had robust content to offer but failed to deliver it to shoppers in a user-friendly manner, or the sites overwhelmed shoppers by showing too much content on one page,” said Witten.
“In order to successfully deliver information to shoppers, manufacturer websites must combine a wealth of tools and information with quickness and a clean, intuitive navigation scheme. Creating a balance of these elements is what sets top performers apart from lower-scoring sites.”
About the study: The 2008 Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study – Wave 1 is based on evaluations gathered between October and November 2007 from 11,466 new-vehicle shoppers who indicated they would be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months.