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Best Manufacturer Websites 2010


What are the best automotive manufacturer websites in Canada?

New-vehicle shoppers who are highly satisfied with their automotive manufacturer website experience are more likely to test drive a vehicle from that manufacturer's lineup, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Canadian Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study, released in May 2010.

2010 Canadian Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study, J.D. Power and Associates.The study finds that the likelihood to test drive a vehicle after visiting that manufacturer's website increases by 22% among highly satisfied new-vehicle shoppers (scores higher than 900 on a 1,000-point scale), compared with less-satisfied shoppers (scores of 700 points or less).

"Sixty per cent of shoppers in the market for a new vehicle in the next year have already visited a manufacturer's website, and twice as many shoppers visit a manufacturer's site compared with a third-party site," said Ryan Robinson, Canadian automotive practice leader at J.D. Power and Associates. "As a result, it's crucial for manufacturers to provide shoppers with an effective and satisfying website-particularly when it is likely to result in increased showroom traffic."

The study also finds that shoppers are becoming more interested in advanced functionality on manufacturer websites, such as the ability to schedule a sales appointment or complete a credit application. For example, 40% of consumers in 2010 report wanting to be able to complete a credit application through the manufacturer website, compared with 30% in 2009. This trend also emphasizes the importance for manufacturers to create an effective transition between the digital and physical shopping experience.

Despite the increase in consumer interest for advanced website functionality, many manufacturer websites are not optimizing these features. Among shoppers who say they wanted to schedule a sales appointment, 76% say they were not able to do so. Similarly, 72% of shoppers who wanted to complete a credit application were unable to do so.

"Although advanced functionality on manufacturer websites was once thought of as more of a novelty, shoppers are becoming increasingly comfortable using these functions and have come to expect them," said Robinson. "Ensuring that these options are present, function properly and are easy to use may go a long way in improving the overall website experience for shoppers."

Lexus.ca ranked as the best automotive manufacturer website in Canada in 2010 in a J.D. Power and Associates study.Now in its fifth year, the study examines Canadian automotive manufacturer websites from the perspective of shoppers who intend to purchase a new vehicle within the next 12 months. Four factors contribute to overall customer satisfaction: information/content; speed of pages loading on the website; ease of navigating throughout the website; and appearance of the website.

Lexus (www.lexus.ca) ranks highest in customer satisfaction with a score of 843 on a 1,000-point scale, performing particularly well across all four factors. Mazda follows in the rankings with 825, and Toyota ranks third with 822.

The 2010 Canadian Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study is based on evaluations provided by 2,274 new-vehicle shoppers who indicated they would be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 12 months. The study was fielded between March and April 2010.

© CarTest.ca. Posted June 17, 2010.

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