WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The most useful automotive manufacturer Web sites for new-vehicle buyers offer not only rich content, but also strong execution of that content, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study(SM) (MWES)—Wave 1 released today.
The study finds that customer satisfaction with OEM Web sites varies widely depending on execution, even when the quality of content is similar among Web sites. For example, although most automotive Web sites feature rich media content, such as 360 degree viewers and videos, to showcase models and their benefits, high-performing Web sites differentiate themselves by providing fast and seamless delivery of this content.
"Web sites for manufacturers such as Acura, Honda and Kia successfully include rich content by employing behind-the-scenes loading for videos and keeping 360 degree tools as light as possible," said Arianne Walker, director of marketing and media research at J.D. Power and Associates. "Making smart decisions, such as using static backgrounds for 360 degree images, will reduce page weights considerably when an image is multiplied many times as the camera circles the vehicle."
Many automotive OEM Web sites that provide rich content but have considerably heavier page weights result in a less satisfactory experience for shoppers. Specifically, heavier page weights create less favorable customer perceptions of Web site speed, which in turn may negatively impact overall satisfaction.
"Some manufacturers could benefit greatly from re-evaluating their content based on value rather than simply adding content for the sake of being flashy," said Walker. "Particularly when an OEM Web site offers a rich media experience but with a dramatically heavier page weight that doesn't add significant utility, it's an indication that changes should be made."
Beyond measuring rich media execution, the semi-annual study, now in its 11th year, also measures the usefulness of automotive manufacturer Web sites during the new-vehicle shopping process by examining four key factors: speed, appearance, navigation and information/content.
Kia ranks highest among automotive manufacturer Web sites for usefulness in new-vehicle shopping with an index score of 880 on a 1,000-point scale and performs well in all four factors. Kia improves by 25 points overall—most notably in the speed, navigation, and information/content factors—from the previous wave of the study, which was released in June 2009.
"Kia's success is largely due to the continued improvements that the manufacturer makes to the brand site," said Walker. "In addition to various small improvements, Kia's newer models such as the Forte and Soul have brought new content to the site, including the 'Experience Forte' section, which is resonating well with shoppers."
Following Kia in the rankings are Honda (875) and Acura (874), which both also perform well in executing rich media on their respective Web sites.
"The more useful a manufacturer Web site is for shoppers, the more traffic it is likely to drive to dealerships," said Walker. "In having a useful, intuitive Web site, these highly ranking manufacturers are driving a higher percentage of their online traffic to the dealership."
The 2010 Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study—Wave 1 is based on evaluations from more than 10,900 new-vehicle shoppers who indicated they will be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months. The study was fielded in November 2009.
Manufacturer Web Site Ranking
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, Capital IQ, J.D. Power and Associates, McGraw-Hill Construction and Aviation Week. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were $6.4 billion. Additional information is available at www.mcgraw-hill.com.
No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate
SOURCE J.D. Power and Associates