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Every carmaker needs a good, user-friendly website

Honda Cars Philippines, thankfully, has realized this

Modern car buyers would usually go to a website first before visiting an actual showroom. PHOTO FROM HONDA

I have a confession to make: I secretly shake my head at car companies that have websites seemingly designed and maintained by octogenarians from a retirement home. In this age of digital everything, people consume their information and entertainment via laptops, smartphones and tablets. Therefore, an automaker’s first point of meaningful contact with its customers these days is its website. And so I am perpetually confused as to why any automotive firm wouldn’t do everything in its power to create a badass website.

You know how I evaluate a brand today? I just check the website. And when I do check a website, I look for four basic things: design, content, user-friendliness and speed. The websites of some automotive distributors in our market don’t even tick two of those boxes, let alone all four.

Honda Cars Philippines used to have one such substandard website. It wasn’t bad. But it also wasn’t good. And sometimes, an unremarkable website is worse for a brand’s reputation, because it gives the impression that the company doesn’t care about the user experience. I remember visiting Honda’s website in the past and being frustrated by the useless pop-up windows. I stopped using the site altogether.

The good news is that Honda has just overhauled its official website (hondaphil.com). It is now noticeably cleaner and more seamless. The layout looks more dynamic, which should go a long way toward attracting tech-savvy car shoppers.

I love the simplified customer tools, too. Users can compare the specs of up to three Honda models. The price list is also easy to read. And the financial calculator helps a lot in giving buyers an idea of how much they need to shell out if they’re getting a particular Honda car through financing.

In a press statement announcing the new website, HCPI sales division head Atty. Louie Soriano says: “This website redesign is part of our commitment to providing the best customer experience, whether it’s at our dealerships or in the digital space.”

Speaking of dealers, the new website features a convenient dealer locator. Just enter your province and the locator will pull up the Honda outlets in your general vicinity.

The new Honda Cars Philippines website isn’t perfect, of course. But it’s infinitely better than the old one. Time to connect with gadget-loving customers.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist for 26 years. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.