Acura Ranks Highest In Web Site Satisfaction

The kinds of vehicles that car shoppers want, and the age and income of the shopper, influence the online content they gravitate toward when they are shopping online, according to the new J.D. Power 2014 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study.

The semiannual study, now in its 15th year, rates automotive manufacturer Web sites for effectiveness at reaching and pleasing new-vehicle shoppers based on information/content, appearance, navigation and speed. New to the study, per J.D. Power, is its ability to capture content and tool usage. Thus, the study reports that shoppers with a reported household income of $175,000 and above are more likely to use a comparison tool than shoppers with household income of less than $60,000. And it finds that Gen Y shoppers use video 32% more often than Baby Boomers.

Acura ranks highest for its consumer site for a third consecutive time, followed by Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar, Smart, Lincoln, Cadillac, Porsche, Chrysler, Ram and Buick which round out the top ten. In last place is Volkswagen. 

The May survey of over 9,800 new-vehicle shoppers who said they would shop for a new vehicle in 24 months also found that car shoppers access 6.2 areas of content or tools on OEM sites when researching a vehicle's information. They access 5.6 areas when researching how a vehicle looks, and 3.7 areas when researching price. Eighty-four percent of shoppers use the sites' build and price tool, and those tools have a big influence on satisfaction for consumers researching price-related information, vehicle specs and appearances. They use those tools most often to research pricing. Unfortunately, per the study, pricing info is the least satisfying task. 

"Pricing information is the least satisfying because it is much more complex than simply providing a dollar figure," said Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media and marketing solutions at J.D. Power, in a statement. "[Shoppers] want to understand payment options and amounts, available discounts, financing terms, along with content that isn't explicitly price related, such as vehicle features, to help them understand the value of the vehicle they are considering." 

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