Genesis is the luxury arm of Hyundai, the South Korean car manufacturer. It was first launched in 2004 but as a part of the Hyundai model lineup. In 2015, the parent company decided to market it as a standalone brand, much as Toyota has done with Lexus and Honda has done with Acura. The Genesis brand has gotten good reviews from the car media and auto research firms. However, its image just received a blow as its website was rated worst among car companies in a major new study.
Car company websites were a place where consumers could find pictures, dimensions, features, and prices of brand models. People could “build” cars online as of a few years ago. Shoppers could add features to base models to get the prices of these. Unfortunately, dealers might have different prices. The auto website was imperfect, at least when it came to the price a consumer might actually have to pay. However, as demand has driven down inventories, the ability to locate and buy some models which are nearly out of stock may be essential to potential buyers.
Specifically, in the new world of car shopping, the value of car websites to manufacturers has changed. People can order cars online. This has become more popular because the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a surge in online buying. Dealers were shuttered, sometimes for months early last year. Pent-up demand has driven car sales to recorded levels in 2021. For many car shoppers, car company websites became an absolutely necessary shopping tool
Widely regarded car research firm J.D. Power releases its “U.S. Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study” twice a year. The new one’s release period covers the summer. The study looks at how useful these websites are in the shopping process. Jon Sundberg, director of digital solutions at J.D. Power, pointed out “This year’s study puts more emphasis on auto shopping tools that give consumers the information they need to make online purchase decisions, allowing us to stay on top of these emerging trends and communicate them to auto manufacturers.”
The new research is based on several metrics–“information/content; visual appeal; navigation; and speed.” These yardsticks are really not much different from those used to evaluate any consumer website. The sample base covers 11,443 new-vehicle shoppers, who say that will be in the market to buy a car in the next two years. This wave of the study was gathered in April and May. The maximum score is 1000.
Genesis received an extremely low score among “premium ” Its website posted a score of 676. In the mass market segment, the loser was MINI, the division of BMW.
Auto websites are likely to become even more critical to manufacturers over time. J.D.Power points out that forty-nine percent of shoppers currently buy a car online. That is up eleven percentage points from 18 months a year ago.
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