“Older is better” rings true when talking about Honda Windward's web site. The Kaneohe, HI dealership may have had the nation's first dealership web site, speculates General Manager Marty Barger. But that would be hard to verify, he adds.

The web site dates to 1992. Mr. Barger has been tweaking it and adding to it ever since.

Everything about the award-winning site screams “customer service.” The web site goes beyond being an advertising or sales tool. Building a relationship with the customer after the sale is the focus.

The information is comprehensive — especially in the service department section. Customers can e-mail technicians with questions, download recall information and view a troubleshooting page that explains common car problems and what to do about them. Also, an Illustrated Technical Guide provides pictures of different systems found on Honda vehicles.

Anyone looking to buy a car on the web site will have no trouble either. Along with an easy-to-search inventory, a complete explanation of the Internet buying process is available. And brochures of each of the current Honda vehicles can be downloaded.

One of the more intriguing innovations is the opportunity consumers have to chat online in real time with an Internet salesperson. The technology is powered by Human Click and is a big hit with customers, according to Mr. Barger.

Although the dealership missed making the cut for the upcoming Ward's eDealer 100 ranking this year, the 230 units sold over the Internet is a very impressive number for a small dealership in a small town located on a small island.

Of the 230 Internet sales last year, the dealership itself generated 186, the third-party sites, the rest, says dealership owner Morrie Stoebner.

He adds, “We've become much less dependent on the referral services.”

Got a web site?

If you have — or know of — a web site that you would like considered for review, please e-mail the link and contact information to cbanks@intertec.com. If you have recently added an interesting innovation to your web site, we'd also like to hear from you .