Ultra-luxury car brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini no doubt have cachet in China, but it’s accessible luxury automakers such as BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz that are in the lead when it comes to making Chinese car buyers’ online research process the most productive.

According to L2’s China: Luxury Auto Insight Report, accessible luxury brands are significantly ahead of ultra-luxury names in site feature adoption on their Chinese-language websites. With all benchmarked accessible brands offering online appointment booking compared to 83% for the high end, the comparatively affordable category is more likely to utilize site features that will move potential customers further down the road to purchase.

The accessible luxury brands also have more advanced site features for helping potential customers research auto models online. While only half of ultra-luxury brands feature site configurators on their Chinese sites, two-thirds of accessible brands do. In contrast, 98 percent of all auto brands have build-your-own-car features on their English-language sites.

There’s one area in which both accessible and ultra-luxury automakers are lagging in China: on-site e-commerce. The one exception is Tesla, which is the only benchmarked brand to offer DTC e-commerce on its Chinese site. With solid tech company credentials, the brand is ahead of rivals in terms of site functionality and allows users to use Alipay to place their deposit online. The accessible luxury is still advancing more quickly with China e-commerce in general, however, as these brands are the most likely to experiment with Tmall auto sales.

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