Westlake Village, California – Kia.com ranks highest among automotive manufacturer web sites for usefulness in new-vehicle shopping, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study (MWES).
The semi-annual study measures the usefulness of U.S. automotive manufacturer web sites during the new-vehicle shopping process. New-vehicle shoppers evaluate web sites in four key areas: appearance, speed, navigation and information/content.
Kia ranks highest with an index score of 872 on a 1,000-point scale — marking a nine-point increase from the last wave of the study, which was released in January 2008. Closely following Kia in the rankings are Ford (871) and Mazda (870), with Ford performing particularly well in the appearance factor. Also performing significantly above the industry average are Honda, Jeep, Lincoln, Porsche, BMW, Cadillac and Subaru.
“Over the years, Kia has successfully satisfied shoppers with its straightforward, intuitive web site by providing pages that load quickly and that are easy to navigate,” said Arianne Walker, director of marketing/media research at J.D. Power and Associates. “By focusing on these key aspects of the web site experience, Kia has continually met the expectations of its customers. In fact, this marks the fourth time in 10 reporting waves that Kia has ranked highest.”
On average, most manufacturer Web sites undergo a major redesign every two to three years. While redesigns can eventually lead to increased satisfaction, small updates to improve critical areas on a manufacturer Web site — such as information and content and ease of navigation — can also positively impact the customer experience in a more cost-effective manner.
In particular, Ford and Porsche have made frequent tweaks and updates to their sites, all leading to a steady increase in satisfaction scores during the past four years, without a major redesign. Specifically, after enhancing navigation following the second wave of MWES in 2007, these manufacturers have also made significant improvements in speed since January 2008.
Manufacturer Web Site Ranking (Based on a 1,000-point scale):