Fleet News

Webwatch: we review what's hot on the 'net

VOLKSWAGEN'S refreshed website for its fleet customers is a solid gold needle in a virtual haystack.

The site, nestled in the folds of www.volkswagen.co.uk, is a design classic epitomising the virtues of 'less-is-more' and the bold use of white space as the best way to highlight site content.

The fleet sub-section is also in the bizarre situation of outclassing its parent site, the home page of which offers a Flash-based extravaganza with inverted text links opening folders for each sub-section, which you have to wait each time to load.

If I came to VW this way, then I would quickly seek sanctuary in the fleet section, laid out in the traditional, lefthand menu, main content in the centre, righthand search style. The use of colour is subtle, apart from the daisies in the top right-hand corner. Lloyds TSB autolease, which has another excellent web design, has them in its masthead too.

The fleet section is divided into six sections in addition to 'contact us'. They are: latest news, awards, model range, cost of ownership, tax and insurance and safety and technology. The first two are rather weak. There is one story in the news section and clicking on the news archive link brought up a blank page. The awards section was a little more inspiring, but not much. The single news story was about the new Golf winning the What Car? Car of the Year 2004 award – but there was no mention of this in the awards page. On this performance, a website revamp was essential.

And it's in the new additions that the content begins to match the design. VW has added downloads of price lists, plus a password-protected area for Volkswagen Fleet's Agency Leasing partners, allowing Volkswagen to communicate important information to its customers.

This new section includes an interactive fleet package pricing map, information on the Volkswagen technical training for maintenance controllers course, and an invaluable downloads area which includes Service, Maintenance & Repair (SMR) costs and model-specific technical data sheets.

The lowdown

The site: www.volkswagen.co.uk/fleet

For

  • A design classic and refresh drives the site's functionality into refreshing territory

    Against

  • A little spartan in places and disappointing in others, as if it's lacking sufficient in-house attention

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