Here's some friendly link sites, and list of UK car manufacturer sites.
You can trust me -
I am Ling!
I try to treat you like adult, not idiot. To help you check specifications and car equipment details and colours, I give you easy links to car manufacturer websites, below. When I linked, I looked and tested the websites. I write reviews. You might wander away, but I hope you come back! Some manufacturer's sites GOOD, some OK, most POOR in my opinion. When will manufacturers learn you want easy life, quick info and fun?
LING'S ANALYSIS OF MANUFACTURER WEBSITES
Mini site: GOOD!
Good sites? Well, Dodge site has nice growly engine noises (but that's all). Honda site shows some real enthusiasm and effort (and real big budget), please to check it. Not many sites are much fun, but Mini stands out and Smart tries to stand out! Good to visit, play. Remarkably Hyundai site works well, it's just that the cars boring I think but that's not website's fault. Land Rover is very good in my opinion, gives you nearly everything you would want and more besides like holiday adventure ideas. Porsche works like well oiled gun, perfect execution, and SAAB is very clear and easy to use, to find info. Daihatsu site is now much improved.
Suzuki site: BAD!
Bad sites? Oh! - most of others really... they seem programmed by outside agencies who generally have no interest in cars, except Morgan which looks like it is programmed at home (and is no worse for it)! Most are paranoid not to offend, and in doing this they just don't endear themselves to anyone. They write in pure bollock-speak, read guff on the Maserati site! It is such a shame that Lotus, TVR, Ferrari type websites don't excite at all. There is generally a lack of interesting content. Smart have lost their URL, in that www.smart.co.uk is NOT them! Fools. Several others, like Volvo, Rolls, Mitsubishi have similar problem due to in-group issues. Suzuki quality sucks.
Ling's Summary All these car manufacturers with their big budgets and "fantastic" brand awareness should do so much more than they already are, on the web. Here are some top-of-my-head suggestions, and why should I have to brainstorm these? Surely, with their massive marketing departments, the car manufacturers should do better (or maybe their size is the problem)?
For instance; what about properly showcasing promo films (instead of the random scattering in various download formats and bad quality), maybe a story or two, or what about a sponsored radio play featuring their own cars? How about some interactive video fast driving lessons in the sporty cars and videos of customer fun days and track days with calendars and invitations to future events? Why not more quizzes and games (see Mini and Smart)? I think there should be more Top Gear-like films, commentary, opinion, adventures and excitement.
Why not webcams in factories showing stages of build, live? Why not show where cars are built (that might inform customers truth! Like Suzuki=Hungary or Fiat=Poland)? Why is all this hidden from us? Why not integrate their stock systems so customers could see physical availability of models, trims and colours? What about bio's of car firm management, plus films and texts of motivational speeches and industry papers or even books they have written?
Why not have online stores allowing us to buy mail-order car parts and brand merchandise from their websites instead of having to visit a dealer? They could still channel this through dealers! Why not publish service slot availability at all the dealers, and allow us to book our car in for a service across the dealer network, with clear costs, online? Lotus have a good little tool to interrogate chassis number and identify warranty recall issues. Well done Lotus, more of that stuff, PLEASE! Why not have a car fault FAQ, so you can enter problems and have fixes suggested online?
Perhaps we could even do something as basic as order Dinky cars from their websites, for kids, to keep them quiet while we are browsing? Why not give; free branded gifts for visitors, sponsored mp3s (download songs featuring their cars), allow us to download Top Gear/TV roadtests and features.
Online: LING'S CHAT!
I don't think any of them have integrated customer forums (only a few even have links to owner's clubs) - are they FRIGHTENED of customer comments? Where are independent ratings; JD Power, or Which? Where are the letters of recommendation and critisism (or are they perfect)? What about ebay-style feedback points for their dealers? And, for goodness sake, they need better communication! Not one car manufacturer allows you to chat online with them, in the same manner you can chat to me online! Finding a good email address or phone number is usually difficult, too, and you know it will be just IMPOSSIBLE to speak to anyone worthwhile. You just know there will be long delays if you try to phone a dealer! These websites are mostly just static shop-windows, not interactive sites and offer little more (in most cases) than an online glossy car brochure.
Remember, this is an industry that sells 2,500,000 new cars in the UK each year! They should do much better! It's a massive missed opportunity, and a shame - Ling