Jack Nerad: Aiming for the consumer, not the gearhead
The 10-year-old Web site, which was established in the early stages of the dot-com era, has never polled users on the quality of their vehicles after the purchase.
But that may change soon, says new kbb.com Editorial Director Jack Nerad, who says the Web site could do more research with its 7 million unique monthly visitors.
"We've only scratched the surface of that, but (there are) other places we can go with this information," Nerad says. "If you've got 7 million new-car buyers on your site every month, you can do a whole lot of great consumer research to generate more information about vehicle quality and reliability."
Kelley, which is based in Irvine, Calif., upgraded its Web site last year and will introduce more enhancements on Wednesday, June 8. Those changes include navigational aids such as vehicle icons that shoppers can click to search for new-car prices.
The site also will give clearer descriptions of vehicle equipment packages, scrapping the confusing jargon of dealer codes. And new-car pricing reports will contain more information.
Nerad, who took the Kelley post in March, replaced Charlie Vogelheim, who left in January to become vice president of automotive development at J.D. Power and Associates of Westlake Village, Calif.
Nerad formerly was editor of Motor Trend, director of publications at J.D. Power and managing editor of the automotive Web site DrivingToday.com. He has written two books, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buying or Leasing a Car and Chevrolet Corvette.
Auto dealers purchase sales leads from shoppers on kbb.com, and improvements to the site are designed to increase the number of visitors.
Nerad also plans to make sure kbb.com offers vehicle reviews written with for the average consumer, not the gearhead.
"We're enhancing our reviews, making them much more average-consumer friendly. That's a major differentiator for us vs. other sites," Nerad says.
Kelley concentrates on the new-car buyer rather than the automotive enthusiast, he says.
"We write to the average Joe Blow who doesn't care much about cars except they need transportation, and want good information but don't understand automotive jargon and a lot of the technical stuff that enthusiasts like talking about," Nerad says.
Kelley will provide more information in reviews and other editorial content on the Web site, he says, "but in a very palatable form. We characterize ourselves as being a new- and used-car buying site for general consumers."