First Impression of Automotive Manufacturer Websites is Best Sales Tool, J.D. Power Finds

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Porsche Ranks Highest in Manufacturer Website Satisfaction in Canada

TORONTO: 10 May 2017 — Manufacturer websites that tell a good brand story will help them win the battle with third-party sites for consumer attention, according to the J.D. Power 2017 Canadian Manufacturer Website Evaluation StudySM released today.

“An experience with a brand’s website is an experience with the brand itself,” said J.D. Ney, senior manager, auto practice Canada at J.D. Power. “Manufacturers’ websites are designed to entice shoppers to learn more about specific vehicles and, hopefully, drive them to visit a showroom. Whereas consumers used to visit several dealerships before making a purchase, they’re now shopping from home and removing brands from their consideration list while sitting in their living room. The better the experience they have visiting a manufacturer website, the more likely they are to have a positive perception of that brand.”

Among shoppers who have an excellent experience with their website visit (overall satisfaction score of 901 or higher on a 1,000-point scale), overall impression of the brand increases by 55% compared with 17% among those who had a poor experience (500 and below). As satisfaction improves, brand perception of innovation and reliability also improve.

The study finds that auto shoppers often search for online reviews before making a purchase. When asked what types of products or services drive them to consult online reviews during their purchase decision-making process, shoppers most frequently identified cars/trucks (63%); consumer electronics (63%); and appliances (53%).

“Deciding to make a large purchase is one that consumers don’t take lightly, so it’s a natural progression that online reviews have become part of that process,” Ney said. “We live much of our lives online, so automakers must recognize this and use it to turn shoppers into buyers.”

Study Rankings

Porsche ranks highest overall with a score of 796. Land Rover ranks second (783), followed by Jaguar (781), Cadillac (779) and Kia (777).

The 2017 Canadian Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study evaluates manufacturer websites from two perspectives: overall site function and the importance of various site features to online shoppers. The four key features that are measured (in order of importance) are: information/content (31%); appearance (25%); navigation (23%); and speed (20%).

The study is based on 3,320 evaluations of automotive manufacturer websites by new-vehicle shoppers who indicated they will be in the market for a vehicle within the next 24 months. This study examines which current site functions and designs are most effective in helping shoppers narrow their consideration set and increasing the likelihood of a test drive. The study was fielded in February-March 2017.

For more information about the Canadian Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study, visit https://canada.jdpower.com/resource/canadian-manufacturer-website-evaluation-study.

J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. These capabilities enable J.D. Power to help its clients drive customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. Established in 1968, J.D. Power is headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., and has offices serving North/South America, Asia Pacific and Europe.

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Shane Smith; East Coast; 424-903-3665; ssmith@pacificcommunicationsgroup.com

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