Fleet websites rated and slated
16 November 2010
David Motton assesses the big names' current efforts in our annual review of the top 20 fleet brands' websites
The BusinessCar website survey provides the industry's only independent and unbiased guide to which manufacturers are making fleet operators' lives easier by providing quick and easy access to accurate and relevant information.
Firstly, we've rated each site for its ranking on Google by typing in the brand name and 'fleet', and given extra points for offering a TWITTER feed.
The next category - there are 10 in all - was usability. How quickly can basic but important information like pricing be found? Is navigation intuitive? We've also scored each site on how well signposted the business area is from the home page, and there are more points on offer for attractive design.
The quality of the downloadable brochures and spec sheets - we want to know P11D prices, CO2 data and tax bands - also came under scrutiny, while a tax calculator is another useful tool. This year, we asked Comcar, which powers Businesscar.co.uk's tax calculator, among others, to look at the accuracy and usefulness of the figures being calculated.
More points can be earned with an easy-to-find contact number, and prompt replies to an email request for information also push up the score. A dealer-finder facility and other useful extras like test-drive booking bump up the total. Finally, we tot up each category to make an overall percentage. We've tightened up our scoring this year, so websites which have stayed still will find themselves going backwards.
Audi ticks the social networking box with a Twitter feed, but hadn't tweeted any news for a year, so we're not giving it any credit. The website itself is good, with easy navigation, detailed brochures and an accurate tax calculator that would be even better if it showed results for 50% tax payers.
BMW's fuel-benefit calculator was out of date. However, the downloadable digital price list includes CO2, P11D and 2010/11 BIK tax band. The dealer finder is one of the best too, giving bespoke directions from a postcode to the nearest BMW dealer, and our email received a response within hours.
A full price list is just one click from the Citroen home page, and includes P11D value and BIK. The dealer finder works well too, and unlike last year we had a quick response to our email. However, the tax calculator we praised last year has disappeared - a major omission.
Fiat's dealer finder is great, and there's a freephone number provided. However, finding and comparing prices is hard, the downloadable brochure has no BIK rates, and our email didn't get a reply. The tax calculator gave figures for the previous tax year too.
Ford's site is functional, and most rivals make the business section more prominent on the home page. But there are plenty of extras like a whole-life cost calculator, a fleet contact number and a top-notch dealer finder. The reply to our email was prompt, but we're disappointed the tax calculator doesn't do fuel-benefit sums for you. We'd also like to see BIK rates in the brochures.
Honda's site is very nearly brilliant. No other manufacturer makes it so easy to find P11D pricing and BIK rates, even before you start downloading brochures and spec guides. Navigating is easy, and we had a response to our email the afternoon it was sent. However, the tax calculator only crunches numbers for the current tax year and doesn't do the maths for fuel benefit.
Unrecognisable from the half-baked effort of just a few years ago, Kia's site is bright and colourful and easy to navigate. The tax calculator takes account of the 50% tax rate too, and allows you to compare Kias. However, we're still awaiting a reply to our email.
Land Rover must try harder. There's still no tax calculator, the price lists don't give a BIK percentage or P11D, and the link to the business area can only be found by scrolling to the bottom of the home page. But the design is attractive and we had a quick reply to our email.