SOURCE: Luxury Institute

November 09, 2006 11:05 ET

Luxury Institute Survey: Wealthy Consumers Rank Lincoln, Cadillac and BMW the Brands With the Most Effective Websites in 2006

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 9, 2006 -- Which luxury automobile brands have websites that wealthy consumers find most effective? To answer that question, the Luxury Institute, an independent research firm, has launched its 2006 Luxury Website Effectiveness Index (LWEI) survey for the luxury automobile category. The LWEI incorporates four components of a luxury website's effectiveness: usefulness of content, ease of navigation, overall look and feel, and trust with personal information.

In addition to these components, the survey measures the impact of the website on three critical "outcome" measures: exceeding visitor's expectations, willingness to recommend the site to people they care about, and improvements in the overall opinion of the brand as a result of the website experience.

Qualitatively, the research captures consumer feedback on how the website could be improved from those who found the site failed to meet their expectations, and reasons consumers say their expectations were exceeded.

Twelve leading brands' websites were rated including: Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes, Porsche and Volvo.

Although BMW, Lexus and Mercedes were the three most visited websites by wealthy consumers, Lincoln's website is clearly the winner in the 2006 LWEI. It ranks first for overall LWEI in three of four main sub-indices. On the content usefulness index, Lincoln ranks second to Cadillac. It is also the top-rated luxury automobile website for each of the three outcome measures: exceeding expectations, willingness to recommend the site, and improving the overall opinion of the brand.

High net worth respondents say the Lincoln site "has all the information I needed to make a decision" and that its "simplicity and clarity" make it "easy to navigate." They like the "great presentation" of the product line, and say the site is "visually appealing" with "unbelievable pictures."

Cadillac's website is likewise a top-performer, in second place for overall LWEI and ranking first for content usefulness. It achieves higher than average scores across all measures, and significantly higher ratings for its images and pictures and ease of moving between pages. On the outcome side, Cadillac's site scores significantly higher for generating improvements in opinions of the brand.

"The European and Asian brands were noticeably absent from the top rankings," said Milton F. Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. "Websites today are becoming the most critical entry point for luxury autos for wealthy prospects and repeat buyers. Delivering an effective website is no longer a luxury, but a cost of entry proposition for luxury automakers. Top quality and a great overall customer experience is great once the customer purchases, but many European and Asian luxury car manufacturers get a C, D or F grade from wealthy consumers for the effectiveness of their websites. It may be time to consider a redesign, this time with the voice of the wealthy consumer in mind."

A nationally representative sample of 1,611 wealthy consumers was surveyed online. Respondents had an average household income of $298K and average net worth of $2.9M. Survey results are weighted to match the demographic and net worth profile of the same audience according to the latest Survey of Consumer Finances from the Federal Reserve.

About the Luxury Institute

The Luxury Institute is the uniquely independent and objective ratings and research institution that is the trusted and respected voice of the high net worth consumer. The Institute provides an impartial portfolio of proprietary publications and research that guides and educates high net-worth individuals and the companies that cater to them on leading edge trends, high net worth consumer rankings and ratings of luxury brands, and best practices. Publications include the monthly Wealth Report, the Luxury Brand Status Index surveys, the Luxury Best Practices surveys and the Luxury Consumer Experience Index surveys. To reach the Luxury Institute, please call 646-792-2669, or go to

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