Car manufacturer websites such as Ford and Toyota lag in traffic behind third-party automotive resource sites such as and but are well-positioned to take the lead, says US-based internet and new technology measurement and analyst firm JUPITER Media Metrix.

The company says that car manufacturers have a significant web advantage due to their deeper pockets, multi-channel presence, and unparalleled access to dealers, consumers and product information during all stages of car ownership.

“This situation mirrors the retail, travel and financial services industries, where traditional brick-and-mortar businesses have been growing their online audiences at a faster rate than their internet-only counterparts,” said Jupiter Media Metrix analyst Julie Ask.

According to the company’s July 2001 Internet ratings, unique visitors to car manufacturer sites increased 31.2 percent over the previous year, from 6.2 million to 8.2 million, while traffic to automotive resource sites increased 25.2 percent during the same period, from 16 million to 20 million.

“While car manufacturer sites are catching up, consumers still perceive third-party auto sites to be more impartial and innovative, offering tools, chat rooms, and a breadth of links to services that were only recently adopted by some manufacturers,” said Ask.

“To maintain their lead, third-party resource sites must not only provide a higher-quality experience to the consumer, but also partner with manufacturers and provide enough value to dealers so that they will be willing to work with multiple sources for leads and advertising.”

Jupiter Media Metrix says that US car shoppers “avidly” use the internet for research, spending an average of more than 10 minutes on automotive sites every month with only the entertainment category – heavily concentrated with games – seeing higher usage.

However, with only one-quarter of Internet users visiting an automotive site in the second quarter of 2001, Jupiter analysts believe there is room for significant growth in the sector.

According to the Media Metrix July 2001 internet ratings, automotive resource sites,,, and claimed the top five spots in the automotive category in terms of unique visitors, while car manufacturer sites,, and ranked 11, 13, 19 and 31, respectively.

According to Adrelevance, Jupiter Media Metrix’s online ad-tracking service, top automotive advertisers in July 2001 were car manufacturers: Toyota, with 109 million ad impressions; Ford, with 93 million ad impressions; and General Motors, with 83 million ad impressions.

Car manufacturers placed a total of 443 million ad impressions during the same period, while automotive resource sites placed 225 million ad impressions.

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

The world’s car manufacturers: A financial and operating review (download)
The electronics revolution in the motor industry: 2000 edition