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Porsche and Acura Websites Rank Supreme Among Consumers

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On: Fri, Oct 18, 2013 at 10:51AM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche and Acura Websites Rank Supreme Among Consumers

It may just be that people like to look at fast, pretty cars, but Porsche has scored highest among automakers for website design. On second thought, it might not be the fast, pretty cars at all. Acura, whose cars are not quite as fast or pretty as Porsche's, save for the NSX, tied for the top spot. The recognition comes from J.D. Power's 2013 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study.

"Kicking the tires" and "test drive" may still be recognized phrases in the English vernacular, but more and more car shopping is being done online. Consumers compare models and options on the Web, play with different colors, trim, and equipment on car configurators, and peruse professional reviews from the comfort of a deskchair or couch. Having a good website design is going to be more and more important for automakers moving forward. One day, future generations might not even know what a "test drive" is—after all, why do you need to test drive a car that drives itself?

Cars might seem like a natural thing to market via the Web—they're bright, shiny, and fast, making for great photos and videos. They have long lists of features and equipment that make for compelling descriptions and spec sheets. They should basically sell themselves. If only it were that simple. We spend a lot of time scouring auto manufacturers' websites for information and specs and are often surprised at how counterintuitive layouts can be and how difficult it can be to find certain key information. Not all websites are created equal.

J.D. Power polled 10,196 new-vehicle shoppers to find out which websites they prefer. The poll included categories such as navigation, options/features/specs, and find a dealer. Porsche (porscheusa.com) and Acura tied for first place with an overall score of 853, placing well above the average score of 823.

Bloggers undoubtedly look differently at a website than consumers, but from our experience, Porsche's US site is well designed for both. All its primary models are listed along the left side of the site, which you can hover over to get more specific models (e.g. Turbo, S, etc.). Place the mouse over one of these models and you get a pop-up with key data (horsepower, top speed, acceleration) and clickable options like "features" and "technical specs." Best of all, this pop-up includes the base price of the model, a feature that's certainly handy for bloggers and car shoppers alike. Depending upon what you're looking for, you can quickly compare Porsche models without ever clicking past the home page.

Acura's website is similarly simple to navigate, with all its models listed along the top and drop-downs to quick-view information on pricing, power, etc. On the downside, you have to select the model for more information, and the information screen is a bit busy and disjointed, requiring a second click for specific information. We prefer Porshe'slayout, but they're both much better than some others out there.

Other manufacturers bury some or all of their basic powertrain and pricing information, making it time consuming just to get the simplest of details. To be fair, however, it's easier to provide quick access to specific model information when you have small, focused line-ups like Porsche and Acura. Larger line-ups require an extra layer or two of organization.

Another element boosting PorscheUSA.com's score was its tablet-friendly scrolling feature. The study found that tablet use has increased 145 percent since last year, and four of the top-performing sites scored well for their scrolling features.


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