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2015 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study Results

2015 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study Results

By Jeff Youngs,

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 one of the key findings of the newly 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 examines four factors: wear, ride, appearance, and traction/handling. Rankings are based on owner experiences with their tires after two years of vehicle ownership.

Image, Peer Advice Influence Purchases
Another key finding of the study is that tire brand image influences customer satisfaction with the product. Manufacturers that convey an image of product value and environmental responsibility are likely to positively influence customer satisfaction. However, a customer's image of the brand can erode over time if the product fails to meet performance expectations. Projecting the right image for the brand is crucial to both sales and customer satisfaction, as 51% of customers who intend to purchase new tires cite brand reputation as a criterion for purchase--the highest among all purchase criteria.

Among owners who have replaced one or more of their original equipment tires within the last 18 months, the most commonly cited criterion for choosing new tires is that they match the tires already on the vehicle. This is true for both purchase (32%) and lease (48%) customers. A recommendation from a sales or service person, cited by 11% of customers, is the second-most-important criterion. Past experience with a tire brand and the advice from sales and service personnel are also very influential considerations when purchasing tires. Gen Y1 customers rely more heavily on their family and friends as a source of information for which replacement tire brand to purchase than do the older generations.

The study finds that owners of run-flat tires are less satisfied with their tires, on average, than owners of non-run-flat tires--a pattern that is consistent with previous iterations of the study. This is true across the luxury, passenger car, and performance sport segments, but the difference is most pronounced in the performance sport segment, where satisfaction with non-run-flat tires averages 685 points on a 1,000-point scale and satisfaction with run-flat tires averages 612. In the luxury segment, satisfaction with run-flat tires is 24 points lower than with non-run-flat tires (688 vs. 712, respectively). In the three rank-eligible segments,2 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."

Owners with run-flat tires also replace tires more frequently in the first two years of ownership than do non-run-flat customers. While the replacement rate for run-flat tires owners is slightly higher in the first year of ownership (10% vs. 7%, respectively), the discrepancy becomes more pronounced in the second year of ownership, when 27% of run-flat-tire owners replaced at least one tire, compared with 16% of non-run-flat tire owners.

Michelin, Pirelli Lead Tire Segment Rankings
Michelin ranks highest among luxury (745) and passenger car (714) owners in the 2015 OE Tire Study. 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 the performance sport segment, Michelin ranks second (692) and Goodyear third (691).

Consumer Tips
Based on the study, J.D. Power offers the following consumer tips:
  • Discuss with your dealer the differences between run-flat and conventional tires so that you know what to expect in terms of performance, tire wear, road noise, comfort, etc.
  • Consider a tire's durability as well as its price.
  • Consider how and when you use your vehicle before deciding what tires to buy, especially if your driving style is more aggressive.
  • Use the Web to find comparisons of various types and brands of tires, as well as customer reviews.

About the Study
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 J.D. Power defines generational groups as Pre-Boomers (born before 1946); Boomers (1946-1964); Gen X (1965-1976); and Gen Y (1977-1994).

2 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 rankable suppliers in the segment.

Additional Research:

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