This post seeks to evaluate the websites of 3 major auto companies, with those being Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota. The results find there are many similarities, but some key differences in marketing.
Chevrolet currently offers 13 vehicles to consumers, and it’s own website has the simple goal of displaying those vehicles in order to get the attention of buyers. The website itself, from a personal standpoint, is helpful in convincing the consumer to consider buying a Chevrolet. Upon entering the website, the visitor is greeted by large images dis-
playing the different features, awards and offers from Chevy, in addition to large pictures of their latest models. These main features are displayed on a large slideshow of pictures that rotate automatically on the screen. On the top of the page, there is a navigation bar that can direct the visitor to different vehicles, promotional offers, as well as shopping tools. Upon visiting the page of each individual car, the consumer is greeted with large pictures of the vehicle, as well as a scroll-down page that goes through various features, such as technology, safety, as well as interior and exterior shots and features of the vehicle that are further outlined. It should be important to note that the images featured for each car vary significantly depending on the model, signaling a marketing technique that allows consumers to better picture themselves in the car that is best suited for their environment. For example, pictures featured for the Chevrolet Spark, the company’s smallest car, are often featured in an urban setting, while the Chevrolet Silverado pickup-truck has photos that feature the vehicle in vast, open spaces, emphasizing a rural feel.
The author of the site is General Motors, while the primary audience for such a site would be general automotive consumers. Considering that this is more of a general, and not a luxury brand, the audience for such a site would likely be mid-price consumers looking for generally inexpensive cars. The purpose of this site, then, would be to advertise these cars to consumers who are just beginning to consider which vehicle to purchase, and the greater job of this website would then be to display these cars in the best possible light. When considering marketing strategy, ethos and logos are often used on vehicle pages, especially when advocating for reliability and dependability in a car, but also from emphasizing the various awards that Chevy has been recognized for, which most notably includes the JD Power award for more initial quality than any other brand. After visiting the website, one of the largest design constraints that appears most obvious is the slight lag that comes with the website.
Ford takes a similar approach when displaying their website, with a distinct similarity in the overall design: The main page features a large slide-show collection of photos that emphasize some of the main points the company wants to get across to visitors, in a manner similar to Chevy. The navigation bar directs visitors to the different vehicles, shopping tools, financial assistance, as well as a special page for current owners. Ford currently offers 16 vehicles to customers, and each one has a distinct page, with a different design emphasis placed on each vehicle depending on type, once again in a similar manner compared to Chevy.
The author of the site is the Ford Motor Company, while its main audience is directed toward consumers looking for inexpensive vehicles. There also appears to be an emphasis placed on sportiness, as told by the photographs they choose to place of cars on their website. In order to attract buyers, Ford heavily embraces ethos, with multiple headlines on the main page stating such things as “most trusted SUV automotive brand”, as well as “highest owner loyalty of any automotive brand”. The overall design appears to be simple, and easy to navigate. There appeared to be no constraints from this, and the website did not appear to lag, unlike Chevy.
Toyota demonstrates distinct similarities with both Ford and Chevy, demonstrating consistent modes and design trends for all three websites, with the same user interface. This is demonstrated best by opening up the main page to find large slide-show images that show off some of Toyota’s cars. What is different about this, however, is that this gallery only displays different cars, and does not choose to talk about awards or reliability claims, unlike Chevy and Ford. The navigation bar features vehicle selection, shopping tools, the option to find the nearest dealer, as well as the ability to customize your own car, and find out the price for such. The pages for each car are easy to navigate, and feature the same scroll-down feature to view content seen at both the Ford and Chevy websites. Toyota currently offers 16 vehicles to consumers, and each page offers a similar feel in terms of look: visually appealing, with an emphasis on car design. This appears to be something Toyota wants to demonstrate to consumers visiting the site.
The author of this website is the Toyota Motor Corporation, while it’s audience is directed toward consumers, once again, looking for an inexpensive, reliable non-luxury vehicle. Perhaps what is most striking about the difference between Toyota’s website and that of Ford and Chevy is Toyota’s notable emphasis on pathos when marketing the website to potential customers. To elaborate, it is very difficult to find any immediate piece of information that boasts about reliability or awards received, but rather it appears Toyota is looking to appeal most to consumers who are looking for stylish cars to drive, given the heavy emphasis on car images. Perhaps this is due to Toyota’s current reputation for producing reliable, yet sometimes boring vehicles. This website tries to boast stylishness in a manner not seen as dramatically when found on the Ford and Chevy sites, where more emphasis on ethos is placed, perhaps to address criticism that the reliability of American cars is not as high as their foreign competition.