Audi Germany’s site earns the top spot in Forrester’s review of European auto brands’ websites for best functionality and usability.

Nevertheless, none of the auto brands Forrester reviewed achieved Leader status because they failed to “meet today’s digital shoppers’ expectations of personalised experiences or provide the right tools to help buyers make decisions.”

In a recent report, The Forrester Automotive Wave: European Websites, Q3 2018, Forrester evaluated 11 of the top auto brands in Europe: Audi (Germany), BMW (Germany), Citroën (France), Ford (UK), Mercedes-Benz (Germany), Nissan (UK), Peugeot (France), Renault (France), Toyota (UK), Vauxhall (UK), and Volkswagen (Germany).

These brands were selected for their high unit sales in either the mass market or luxury categories in Europe’s largest auto markets: the UK, Germany and France.

Forrester’s research clearly shows that auto brands’ websites are crucial to the purchase process. “This report lays out where these companies excel — and where they lag — and what digital business and customer experience professionals can learn from them to help their websites fuel more growth,” says principal analyst Brendan Miller.

European websites show promise over their US counterparts in the areas of dealer handoff and store locator features but still lack features that drive consumer usage and loyalty.

A website should explain the cars and what the brand stands for, offer helpful shopping information, and seamlessly hand off the shopper to a dealer able to complete the purchase. However, too often, sites miss the mark on all three fronts, forcing shoppers to go elsewhere for in-depth information and comparisons.

“The foundation for winning car shoppers’ hearts and minds isn’t a dealer’s showroom but rather their digital experiences – most importantly, their experiences on their website,” adds Miller.