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2012 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study (MWES) -- Wave 2 Results

2012 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study (MWES) -- Wave 2 Results

By Jeff Youngs, August 01, 2012
During the first 6 months of 2012, online new-vehicle shopper satisfaction with the usefulness of automotive manufacturers' Websites rose from the previous 6 months, according to the recently released J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Manufacturer Website Evaluation StudySM (MWES)--Wave 2. The overall increase in satisfaction is likely due to the efforts of auto manufacturers to integrate tablet-friendly layouts on their sites to meet the needs of a growing number of consumers who shop online using both tablet and desktop computers.

Study findings show a dramatically higher percentage of online new-vehicle shoppers (35%) now own a tablet device than in January of this year (20%), when the first wave of the 2012 study was released. This trend has prompted auto manufacturers to design sites that are more compatible with tablets, while keeping or adding features that also maximize the convenience of shopping online among desktop users.

Overall satisfaction with the usefulness of automotive brand Websites has increased by 46 points (on a 1,000-point scale) to 818 in Wave 2 of the 2012 study, compared with Wave 1.

Auto manufacturer Websites that have achieved the greatest improvements in online shopper satisfaction have incorporated the following best practices:

  • Higher contrast in navigational elements, including clearer buttons
  • Larger text and less clutter
  • Easier access to tools important to shoppers

The study measures the usefulness of automotive manufacturer Websites during the new-vehicle shopping process by examining four key measures (in order of importance): information/content, navigation, appearance, and speed.

The Dodge brand Website ranks highest in overall satisfaction in Wave 2 with a score of 847, and significantly improves in all four measures from Wave 1. Dodge is followed in the rankings by Mercedes-Benz (846); Porsche (843); Jeep (838); and Lexus and Smart in a tie (836).

The 2012 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study--Wave 2 is based on evaluations from more than 10,000 new-vehicle shoppers who indicate they will be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months. The study was fielded from May to June 2012.

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