January 29, 2007

Kia.com rates highest in J.D. Power web site survey

Westlake Village, California – Kia.com is the most useful U.S. manufacturer’s Web site for new-vehicle shopping, according to a survey by J.D. Power and Associates. The semi-annual study evaluates Web sites for their appearance, speed, navigation and information/content.

Kia ranked highest with an index score of 868 on a 1,000-point scale, a four-point improvement from the previous study released in June 2006.

Hummer, Mazda, Honda and Toyota followed Kia in the ratings; Hummer ranked highest in the previous study. Both Hummer and Kia have ranked among the top ten Web sites five consecutive times.

Across all sites, the industry average of 834 was down four points from the previous study, ending a positive increasing trend in usability since 2004. The average was affected mostly by sites incorporating advanced technology to the detriment of site speed. Seven of the nine sites that were redesigned since the previous study fell significantly in speed measure, which identifies shopper perceptions of a site’s speed. These seven sites have incorporated more Flash technology on their home pages or throughout their sites than in the previous wave of the study.

“Clearly, some manufacturer Web sites appear to have gotten ahead of their shoppers’ capabilities, forcing technology onto shoppers who just aren’t ready for it yet,” says Steve Witten, executive director of marketing/media research at J.D. Power and Associates. “Knowing your shoppers and their technological capabilities and expectations should be one of the first steps in site design. The incorporation of Flash and videos into a site can negatively impact a shopper’s experience if the site gets ahead of their capability curve or improperly implements the technology.”

J.D. Power says that the study demonstrates that the more useful a manufacturer’s Web site is, the more traffic it is likely to drive to dealerships. The study is based on evaluations by 11,280 new-vehicle shoppers who indicated they would be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months.

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