Franchised dealers have been the dominant winners in industry awards recognising excellence in digital marketing.
They won three of the five categories open to franchised and independent traders at yesterday's Click Awards, sponsored by Auto Trader.
But, having gone through a mystery shopping process and calling on the likes of Google and Twitter to provide support in the judging, dealers were revealed to be still failing miserably to meet basic customer service demands according to Auto Trader.
The 'ultimate dealer group' was Robins & Day, which also won the 'people's choice' award for best website from a retailer.
Evans Halshaw won the award for the most innovative use of social media and Jardine Motors Group for best web design. Listers was given an SEO Excellence award in the dealer group category.
The 'ultimate award' for a manufacturer went to Audi UK and digital car supermarket to Norfolk-based Sandles.
Mercedes-Benz won the manufacturer award for social media use, Mazda for best website, Audi for best lead generation and Skoda for the 'people's choice' of best website; Volkswagen UK best use of mobile.
Sandles also won the retailer award for best use of mobile, Jaguar cars and Carbase for SEO excellence. Car People won a best lead generation award.
But Nick King, Auto Trader market research director, said of inquiries through 1,850 mystery shops carried out as part of the judging this year, only 50% of dealers replied within 24 hours - 50% didn't reply at all. The benchmark time is four hours.
50% of dealers shopped had Live Chat, yet only 10% of 'conversations' were successful ie the conversation ended naturally.
Manufacturers were not without fault either. 52% either responded after 24 hours or not at all to test drive request information.
There were 16 awards based on what is believed to be the largest automotive survey in the UK, with feedback from more than 9,500 consumers.
They were asked to visit three randomly selected websites, search for new and used cars and rate the websites and mobile sites on ease of use, design and ease of dealer contact.
Shortlists were generated from the results and these were judged by Google, Nokia, Twitter to find the overall winners.
Jardine Motors Group: www.jardinemotors.co.uk
Mazda UK: www.mazda.co.uk
Robins & Day: www.robinsandday.co.uk
Skoda UK: www.skoda.co.uk
Sandles Car Supermarket (mobile): www.sandles.co.uk
Volkswagen (mobile): www.volkswagen.co.uk