Subaru ranks highest among auto manufacturer websites in satisfying Canadian new-vehicle shoppers, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Canadian Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study.

Now in its third year, the study examines Canadian manufacturer websites from the viewpoint of shoppers who intend to purchase a new vehicle within the next 12 months.

Four factors contribute to overall customer satisfaction: information/content; ease of navigating throughout the site; appearance of the site; and speed of pages loading throughout the site.

Subaru ranked highest among 25 auto manufacturer website with a score of 840 out of 1,000 possible points. Subaru performed particularly well in information/content, speed and ease of navigation of its site. Kia and Volvo tied to follow Subaru in the rankings with scores of 835.

The study finds that overall satisfaction among Canadian consumers with manufacturer websites has decreased for a second consecutive year — down 12 points since the study’s inception in 2006. Despite the overall decline, manufacturers that focused on redesigning their websites in 2008 tended to improve in overall satisfaction compared with 2007.

“It’s interesting to note that while previous redesigns received unfavourable ratings from customers, the few manufacturers that redesigned their websites in the past year were some of the only automakers to achieve improvements in satisfaction among new-vehicle shoppers,” said Adrian Chung, manager of automotive syndicated research at J.D. Power and Associates.

The study also finds that respondents older than 50 are more likely to be dissatisfied with manufacturer websites, particularly in the areas of navigation and appearance. Individuals in this age group — often the most affluent shoppers — comprise nearly one-half of new car buyers.

“Most features on manufacturer websites are aimed at shoppers younger than 30 years old, who are most comfortable shopping online but represent only 12% of new-vehicle purchases,” said Chung. “Manufacturers stand to benefit by adjusting their websites to also meet the expectations of new-vehicle shoppers older than 50, who tend to be more critical of websites, but are far more likely to purchase a vehicle.”

The 2008 Canadian Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study is based on evaluations provided by 3,639 new-vehicle shoppers who indicated they would be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 12 months.

     

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