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J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Maintaining Consistency Between Home Pages and Model Pages is Critical to Usability and Satisfaction With Automotive Brand Websites

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. Jan. 26, 2011

http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20050527/LAF028LOGO-a

For the first time since its inception in 2000, the study examines differences in satisfaction between auto manufacturer website users who entered the website through its home page and those whose point of entry was a model-level page.  The study finds that, overall, website users who accessed a website through a model page are significantly more satisfied with their experience than are those who entered the website through the home page. Websites that achieve the highest levels of overall satisfaction and usability perform consistently well among both sets of shoppers.

Arianne Walker

In contrast, for some of the lowest-performing websites, there are significant gaps in satisfaction between users who entered the site through the home page and those who gained entry through a model page.

"Websites that are ranked as being the least useful or satisfying tend to have home pages that offer very little model-level information, if any, as well as cumbersome or inconsistent navigation," said Walker. "Closing the gap between users who enter via the home page and those who use the model page is essential to creating a useful and satisfying experience for the consumer. From whichever point they enter a site, users should have an equally satisfying experience."

The semiannual study, now in its 12th year, measures the usefulness of automotive manufacturer websites during the new-vehicle shopping process by examining four key measures: speed, appearance, navigation and information/content.

Honda ranks highest with a score of 836 on a 1,000-point scale, and performs particularly well in the information/content, navigation and speed measures. Rounding out the top five automotive websites are Mazda (818), MINI (815), Porsche (814) and Acura (813). The most improved brands in 2011 include Cadillac (which improves by 15 rank positions) and Porsche (which improves by 14 rank positions).

According to Walker, much of Cadillac’s improvement in 2011 comes from improved navigation, which was added on top of image and branding updates that were initiated early in 2010. Porsche’s improvement from 2010 is primarily due to changes in navigation and design that provide users with clearer, more readable page layouts.

"Whenever a website incorporates image and brand changes, it involves a certain amount of risk; however, taking these risks allows manufacturers and marketers to take advantage of the dynamic, changeable nature of the Internet," said Walker. "Compared with changing the design of a vehicle model, changing a website provides a relatively low-cost opportunity to experiment, and even allows for reversal of the changes if the experiment doesn’t work. However, it’s important to keep in mind that changes should include some reasonable payoff for the website user.  In fact, users will be more accepting of experimentation if the payoff is clear to them."

November 2010

Manufacturer Website Ranking

(Based on a 1,000-point scale)

Honda

836

Mazda

818

MINI

815

Porsche

814

Acura

813

Ford

810

Mercedes-Benz

805

Nissan

804

Hyundai

803

Mitsubishi

803

Infiniti

802

Kia

802

BMW

798

Lexus

798

Lincoln

795

Dodge

792

Land Rover

791

Cadillac

787

Industry Average

784

Toyota

783

Chevrolet

779

GMC

779

Buick

778

Jeep

776

Volvo

776

Suzuki

775

Chrysler

773

Subaru

764

Mercury

757

Audi

740

smart

739

Jaguar

737

Volkswagen

735

Scion

695

About J.D. Power and Associates

Westlake Village, Calif. car reviews and ratings car insurance health insurance cell phone ratings JDPower.com

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

$5.95 billion http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/

J.D. Power and Associates Media Relations Contacts:

John Tews Troy, Mich. [email protected]

Westlake Village, Calif. [email protected]

www.jdpower.com/corporate

SOURCE J.D. Power and Associates

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