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2014 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study Results

2014 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study Results

By Joseph Dobrian, March 28, 2014
The just-published J.D. Power 2014 Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction StudySM finds that the number of problems owners experience with their factory-installed tires has dropped significantly over the past five years, which indicates an overall improvement of tire quality across the industry. The study measures tire owner satisfaction in four vehicle segments: luxury; passenger car; performance sport; and truck/utility. Satisfaction is examined in four factors: tire wearability; tire ride; tire appearance; and tire traction/handling. Rankings are based on owner experiences with their tires after 2 years of vehicle ownership.

The number of problems owners experience with their original equipment tires has declined by 22%, to 68.5 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2014 from 88.3 PP100 in 2010. Furthermore, the incidence of all tire problems measured in the study has declined over that 5-year span, with the largest improvements in fast tread wear (4.4 fewer PP100), slow leaks (2.6 fewer PP100), and uneven wear (2.3 fewer PP100).

Another of the study's key findings is that satisfaction with a vehicle's original tires improves in 2014 in the luxury, passenger car, and truck/utility segments, although it declines in the performance sport segment. When owners don't experience any problems with their tires, 36% say they expect to purchase the same brand of tires when it comes time to replace them, and 32% of owners say they "definitely will" recommend their original equipment tires to family and friends. Once an owner experiences a single problem with a tire, loyalty to that brand drops to 24% and advocacy dips to 18%, on average.

Loyalty and advocacy rates drop into the single digits if the problem is perceived to be inherent in the tire's manufacturesuch as a rough ride, poor traction, or fast or uneven tread wear. Rates of loyalty and advocacy drop less if the problem is perceived to have been caused by a road hazard or slow leak.

One Third of Owners Will Consider Fuel Efficiency When Buying Replacement Tires
Almost 50% of all vehicle owners believe the type of tire on their vehicle can affect fuel efficiency. However, only one-third of owners say they'll consider fuel efficiency as a goal when they buy new tires in the future. Owners of certain types of vehicles are more likely to weigh fuel efficiency as a factor in future purchases, with 47% of sub-compact car owners saying they plan to do so, compared with 42% of midsize pickup truck owners and 38% of large light-duty pickup truck owners.

"The steady drop in problems is reflective of the efforts manufacturers have made to improve the quality of their tires," said Brent Gruber, director, global automotive division at J.D. Power. "The fact that the greatest improvements are in tire wear, which has the largest impact on satisfaction, is good news for consumers that place great value on long tread life from their tires."

"Automakers continue to focus on improving fuel economy across all of their vehicles, including pickup trucks, by reducing weight and using smaller engines," Gruber adds. "While owners don't want to compromise traction and ride and handling to save fuel, it's clear that even truck owners are fuel-conscious consumers. Considering the volume of the pickup truck market in the United States and the receptivity for fuel-efficient tires among this segment of owners, there is considerable opportunity for developing and marketing tire products to meet their needs."

Tire Brand Rankings
Michelin is the tire brand that ranks highest with owners of three of the four segments surveyed: luxury (780 on a 1,000-point scale); passenger car (752); and truck/utility (736). Pirelli ranks highest in the performance sport segment (739).

Pirelli ranks second in the luxury segment (764), and Bridgestone ranks third (741). In the passenger car segment, Goodyear ranks second (707), followed by Firestone (688). Bridgestone (710) and BFGoodrich (689) rank second and third, respectively, in the truck/utility segment. Pirelli is followed by Goodyear (732) and Bridgestone (724) in the performance sport segment.

Consumer Tips
Based on the study, J.D. Power offers the following consumer tips:
  • Tell your dealer how you use your vehicle: how many miles you expect to put on it; what kinds of roads (or terrain) you normally drive on; what kind of weather you're likely to drive it in. Buy tires suited to your needs.
  • Examine the warranty. Bad things can happen even to the best tires.
  • If you insist on high performance from your vehicle during the non-winter months, but live in a climate where snow and ice is a factor, invest in summer and winter tires.

About the Study
The 2014 Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 29,000 new-vehicle owners who purchased a 2012 or 2013 model-year vehicle. The study was fielded between October and December 2013.

Additional Research:

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