J.D. Power Study Ranks Usability of Automakers’ Websites

How useful are automakers Web sites to car shoppers? The answers vary quite a bit, depending on the company. It’s not an easy evaluation to make. It depends not only on design and navigation, but shopping and buying tools, third-party integrations and partner information, as well as how well the Web site performs on mobile devices.

Since 1999, analyst group J.D. Power has published a semi-annual study entitled, “J.D. Power U.S. Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study Cross-Device” to evaluate the usability of carmaker Web sites. This year’s study, performed in May, is based on responses from 13,792 new vehicle shoppers who indicated that they will likely be purchasing a new vehicle in the next two years.

“For automotive manufacturers, an effective Web site is critical,” said J.D. Power. “It serves as a major portal of information for new-vehicle shoppers during the selection process, assists them in narrowing their consideration set, and helps them identify key vehicle features and benefits.”

The report’s methodology examines Web sites based on information/content, appearance, navigation and speed (in that order of importance) to determine how useful automotive manufacturer’s sites were during the respondents’ shopping process. The results were reported on a 1,000-point scale. For the most recent study, the mass market segment averaged 822, while the luxury segment averaged 828 points. The MINI brand, owned by BMW, came out on top of the mass market ranking, while Acura topped the luxury list.

In the study’s summary, J.D. Power noted that the information helps “direct improvements to manufacturers’ websites that ultimately drive traffic to dealerships and increase the likelihood of sales.”

Mass market manufacturers’ Web sites ranked as follows, on a scale of 1,000.

  • MINI: 838
  • Ram: 833
  • GMC: 831
  • Chevrolet: 830
  • Dodge: 829
  • Jeep: 828
  • Fiat: 825
  • Buick: 824
  • Hyundai: 823
  • Subaru: 822
  • Volkswagen: 821
  • Chrysler: 820
  • Ford: 818
  • Nissan: 818
  • Kia: 817
  • Mitsubishi: 817
  • Honda: 812
  • Toyota: 811
  • Mazda: 809

Scores were slightly higher in the luxury market sector, with brands ranking as follows:

  • Acura: 839
  • Alfa Romeo: 839
  • Porsche: 837
  • Land Rover: 836
  • Cadillac: 834
  • Lincoln: 833
  • Lexus: 832
  • Mercedes-Benz: 831
  • Audi: 829
  • Volvo: 824
  • Genesis: 823
  • Infiniti: 821
  • BMW: 819
  • Jaguar: 819
  • Tesla: 811