User friendliness put Toyota Motor Sales USA in the top spot, said Gary Thomason, a chief test engineer with AMCI, one of the auto industry's top researchers. Toyota was the only carmaker with glossaries of both automotive terms and Net terms, for example.
Second-place BMW of North America also offered something unique: a downloadable program offering data on its Z3 model.
Toyota's Lexus division ranked third because the auto marketer-at the time-was the only one to offer links to each of its dealers' sites. (General Motors Corp. now offers pages for each of its dealers).
American Honda Motor Co.'s site helps link users to browser upgrades. And unlike many other sites reviewed, all Honda's high-tech features worked.