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Run-Flat Tires Letting Air Out of Customer Satisfaction

Run-Flat Tires Letting Air Out of Customer Satisfaction

By Jeff Youngs, March 26, 2015

Customers with run-flat tires are less satisfied with their tires, and replace their tires more frequently in the first two years of ownership, than customers with non-run-flat tires. That's the conclusion of the recently released J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study.SM

The study measures tire owner satisfaction in four vehicle segments: luxury, passenger car, performance sport, and truck/utility. The study considers four factors: wear, ride, appearance, and traction/handling.

In the sport segment, satisfaction with non-run-flat tires averages 685 points on a 1,000-point scale, compared with 612 for run-flat tires. In the luxury segment, satisfaction with run-flat tires is 24 points lower than with non-run-flat tires (688 vs. 712, respectively). In all three of the rank-eligible segments,1 the largest gaps in satisfaction are in tire ride and tire wear.

"The use of run-flat tires is likely to increase as automakers continue to view them as a viable option for improving fuel efficiency by eliminating the need for a spare tire, thereby reducing the weight," said Brent Gruber, director, global automotive division at J.D. Power. "It's vital that auto and tire manufacturers address the ride and wear issues, which are still not meeting customer expectations. Customers expect that run-flat tires won't compromise tread life or the ability to provide a quiet and comfortable ride."

The study finds that 51% of customers who intend to purchase new tires cite brand reputation as a criterion for purchase. For owners who have replaced one or more original equipment tires within the past 18 months, the most commonly cited criterion is that the new tires match those already on the vehicle. Michelin ranks highest in the luxury (745) and passenger car (714) segments. Pirelli ranks highest in the performance sport segment (693).

Pirelli ranks second in the luxury segment (710), while Goodyear ranks second in the passenger car segment (669). In performance sport, Michelin ranks second (692) and Goodyear third (691).

The 2015 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 29,000 original owners of 2013 or 2014 model-year vehicles. The study was fielded in November and December 2014.

[1] For a segment award to be presented, there must be at least four suppliers with sufficient sample within an award segment. No truck/utility award has been presented due to insufficient market representation among rank-eligible suppliers in the segment.

Additional Research:

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