Automotive Websites Should Differentiate and Lead the Pack

With 50% of vehicle shoppers willing to purchase online and only 8 points (on a 1,000-point scale) separating the top three performing third-party automotive websites, customer satisfaction is narrowing. According to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Automotive Website Evaluation Study,SM released  the sites must work to differentiate themselves if they want to pull ahead of the pack.

“Shoppers today expect to use a website tailored to their specific interests, which has a huge impact on satisfaction,” said Jon Sundberg, director of digital solutions at J.D. Power. “We found that one-fourth of automotive shoppers do not feel they are receiving that experience. Additionally, it is imperative that third-party automotive websites get shoppers to engage with interactive tools and content on the website to provide the necessary lifts in satisfaction.”

The J.D. Power U.S. Automotive Website Evaluation Study is an annual study that measures the usefulness of automotive third-party websites during the process of shopping for a new or used vehicle by examining four key measures (in order of importance): information/content; navigation; visual appeal; and speed.

This year’s study finds that overall website satisfaction averages 628.

Study Ranking

CarMax ranks highest in website satisfaction with a score of 650. Carfax (649) ranks second and Edmunds (642) ranks third. Followed by TrueCar, Autotrader,, Kelley Blue Book,, Carvana and Car Gurus.

The U.S. Automotive Website Evaluation Study is based on responses from 4,039 vehicle shoppers who indicate they will be in the market for a new or used vehicle within the next 24 months. The study was fielded in April-May 2021.

The J.D. Power U.S. Automotive Website Evaluation StudySM (AWES) examines the features and content of third-party automotive websites across all devices that shoppers find useful and engaging when shopping for a vehicle online. This study looks at what content shoppers are using when evaluating third-party websites. AWES helps third-party automotive websites identify improvements to make their site more competitive.

The study evaluates four factors related to shoppers’ satisfaction with their experiences with these websites:

  • Appearance
  • Navigation
  • Speed
  • Information/Content