TOKYO: 31 October 2013 — The experience customers had with their tires significantly impacts their brand loyalty, as more than one-half of vehicle owners who were satisfied with the tires they previously had on their vehicle replaced them with the same brand, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2013 Japan Replacement Tire Customer Satisfaction Index StudySM released today.
Now in its fifth year, the study examines market trends and measures customer satisfaction with replacement tires (excluding winter tires) purchased new. Overall customer satisfaction with replacement tires is based on four factors: traction/ handling, ride, wearability and appearance. Overall satisfaction scores (based on a 1,000-point scale) are calculated based on owner evaluations of 10 attributes.
Satisfaction among owners who purchased replacement tires of the same brand as the previous original equipment tires averages 606, compared with an average of 602 among those who previously owned replacement tires.
"At a time when the vehicle ownership cycle is lengthening, the number of tire replacements over a vehicle's lifetime is increasing," said Taku Kimoto, executive director of the automotive division at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Tokyo. "For this reason, the initial experience with the original equipment tires has a significant impact on brand loyalty at the time of subsequent tire replacements. Finding ways to create repeat buyers who continue to use the brand of tires originally fitted on their new vehicles is important for expanding the customer base."
The study finds that 42 percent of vehicle owners compare and consider multiple brands when purchasing replacement tires. Satisfaction is 10 points higher among owners who compared and considered other brands than among those who did not (585 vs. 575, respectively). The most frequently cited reason for selection among all owners who purchased their tires at a retail store is "store employee recommendation" (41%). Among owners who did not compare and consider multiple brands, 45 percent chose their tires based on the "store employee recommendation." In contrast, among owners who did compare and consider multiple brands, only 34 percent cite "store employee recommendation" as the reason they selected their tires.
"Product presentation and messaging at retail stores, including recommendations by store employees, play a key role in the customer purchasing process at the time of the final decision," said Kimoto. "It is becoming increasingly important for tire makers to reinforce retailer and distributor training in product knowledge and selling points, so they are better able to assist their customers."
The study finds that owners of vehicles in the large segment have the highest rate of problems (23%) with their tires' traction/ handling, ride or wearability, while mini/ compact car owners experience the fewest (17%). Overall satisfaction among owners who have not experienced any problems with their replacement tires averages 592, which is 48 points higher than among those who have experienced one or more problems.
2013 Ranking Highlights
The overall satisfaction rankings in the four vehicle segments are as follows:
- Mini/ Compact car segment: The segment average is 558. Dunlop ranks highest with a score of 580 and performs particularly well in ride, wearability and appearance. Bridgestone ranks second with a score of 577.
- Midsize segment: The segment average is 598. Michelin ranks highest with a score of 648 and performs particularly well in all four factors. Michelin is followed by Bridgestone with a score of 624.
- Large segment: The segment average is 630. Bridgestone ranks highest with a score of 670. Michelin performs particularly well in traction/ handling, ride and wearability. Michelin ranks second with a score of 667.
- Minivan segment: The segment average is 576. Bridgestone ranks highest with a score of 601 and performs particularly well in the traction/ handling factor. Dunlop ranks second with a score of 600. The 2013 Japan Replacement Tire Customer Satisfaction Index Study is based on responses from 7,442 vehicle owners within the first three to 14 months of ownership who purchased their replacement tires between June 2012 and May 2013. The study was fielded in August 2013.
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