Manufacturers' websites rated
22 November 2006
We've looked at the websites belonging to the 20 biggest sellers in fleet and rated them accordingly. But who comes out top?
In a world where we communicate more but speak less, the internet has become an essential tool for time-pressed business people.
The days of fleet managers waiting for scores of salesmen to grace their office with spread sheets and brochures before making a decision are long gone. Drivers, too, are benefiting from the advent of an online revolution. Now lunchtimes can be spent perusing online brochures to choose their next mobile office instead of rainy Sunday afternoons on dealers' forecourts.
Manufacturers have embraced the new media, but as our investigation shows, some are more savvy then others.
We've judged their websites using 10 criteria, each marked out of five: Google ranking - where a site is placed when entering a manufacturer's name plus 'fleet sales' (all searches were carried out within the same time period); ease of use; design or dazzle factor; how accessible is business area - the number of clicks it takes to find the corporate part of the site; how good is the downloadable brochure; tax calculator cleverness; speed of response to emails; how accessible is a phone number; how good is the dealer search; and finally extras, such as other useful tools that will keep you coming back to the site.
The scores over these 10 categories gave us our percentage rating.
Informative easy to use site offers an online business magazine. Best bit is the 'meet the team' section with direct phone listings for everyone from the fleet boss down. No downloadable brochure, though, and 11 fields must be filled in before getting a print brochure.
Impressive site. All the pictures look as though they've been deliberately designed rather than dropped onto an elderly template. Where it loses points is when compared with other websites' nice touches such as 'meet the team.'
Not as slick nor as sophisticated as many of its rivals, but in its defence is easy to use. Loses points with its brochure policy. The C5 VTX brochure is downloadable while everything else is on request.
Easy to use and good to look at, but limited in its application to anyone other than the user-chooser.
Spoiled by a design that fails to be cohesive, and clicking from retail to a dedicated fleet home brings up an ugly text-heavy intermediate page.
Useful for beginners, with easy explanations on what the possible fleet options are. Searching for a nearest business dealer only brought up the nearest general dealer despite specifying corporate sales.
Think of the site as more of a passing nod to the fleet business - there isn't a dedicated corporate page. There's little to impress apart from a tax calculator that works for any car. Lacks email enquiry too.
Only retail customers apply. Despite massive recent inroads into the fleet market, Kia hasn't yet set up a specific page for fleet needs.
Simple and effective to use, offering both drivers and management easy access to essential data and information needed for choosing the next fleet of vehicles.
Stylish and simple to use, the fleet section carries offers online special offers to entice visitors back. There's also a handy product guide written by the fleet boss.
Very limited appeal for business users, and the design degrades once you've left the retail site. It's easy to use, but there are few extras for business users, with lots of clicking and deviation to microsites.
Fine fleet-focused website that is only hindered by an old-fashioned look that doesn't do the brand justice. Otherwise, comprehensive, easy to use, and a clear, well thought-out layout.
From an impressive, well laid-out homepage things rapidly fall flat once you've clicked through to 'Renault Fleet'. It's poorly designed and difficult to navigate with little of the tools standard on other sites. We couldn't find any key fleet contact shortcut, enquiries are emailed straight to a dealer instead.
Good looking and in most cases easy to navigate. But for those limited by time, why isn't there a telephone shortcut to a member of the Saab business team?
Another site where fleet seems to be an afterthought that follows the retail business - especially disappointing since parent VW is so good. Screams out for a telephone shortcut.
A convincing fleet angle to a good website. Easy to navigate and extract useful comprehensive data to analyse costs. Lots of nice touches, like 'meet the team' complete with mug shots. Shame the news section is rarely updated.
Poor, uninspiring design that doesn't reward a visit with anything to tempt fleet managers back. Also lacks the facility to contact Toyota's fleet team via email.
Why does a busy, stressed fleet manager or time-pressed driver have to fill out eight fields just to download a brochure?
Despite a text-heavy home page the VW site is a fine example of a business web offering. It's easy to navigate and provides enough information for both fleet manager and driver alike to help them with their next purchases.
Good, well-designed site that has a firm fleet focus only ruined by a failure to include hard data and tools that are commonplace on every other site.