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2017 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study: Original Equipment Tire Fitments Have Brand Loyalty Traction with New-Vehicle Owners

2017 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study: Original Equipment Tire Fitments Have Brand Loyalty Traction with New-Vehicle Owners

By Joseph Dobrian, March 23, 2017

A new J.D. Power study suggests that new-vehicle owners are just as loyal to tire brands as they are to car brands. According to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study,SM customer loyalty to a tire brand is often built into the vehicle purchase. According to the study, 37% of owners who replace two or more tires on their vehicle select the same tire brand that their new vehicle featured when they first drove it off the dealership lot. This gives the original equipment (OE) tire brands a strong advantage in the highly competitive tire replacement market. Original equipment tire brands have the highest market share when vehicle owners replace at least two tires in their first two years of ownership. Of those owners who did stick with the same brand, 62% chose tires of five leading makers: Michelin (21%), Goodyear (12%), Continental (11%), Bridgestone (11%), or Pirelli (7%).

“Tire manufacturers who have their products fitted to new vehicles have a great advantage over their competitors,” said Brent Gruber, senior director, automotive quality practice at J.D. Power. “A large number of vehicle owners do not even consider other brands when buying replacement tires. As long as they have a positive experience with their OE tires, there is a natural tendency for consumers to select the same brand for their first replacement.”

According to the study, 58% of luxury vehicle owners purchase the OE tire brand for their vehicle, while only 31% of mass-market vehicle owners do so. Luxury vehicle owners also have higher intent to return to a car dealership (46%) for new tires than mass-market vehicle owners (33%) for tire replacement.

More than half of tire replacements in the first two years of ownership are a result of road hazard damage, flats, or blowouts, the study reports. A significant proportion of luxury owners report that their vehicle did not come with a flat-tire solution—including either a temporary spare, full-size spare, sealant kit, inflation kit, or collapsible spare. While many luxury vehicles feature run-flat tires, many owners are unaware of this, the study shows.

Across the four vehicle tire segments, customer satisfaction with poor-weather traction has increased and the number of wet road traction problems decreased between the 2015 and 2017 studies.

Michelin Ranks Highest in All Four Tire Segments
Michelin ranks highest in all four segments of the study: luxury (757 on a 1,000-point scale); passenger car (743); performance sport (746); and truck/utility (712). In the luxury segment, Pirelli (722) ranks second and Bridgestone (720) third. In the passenger car segment, Pirelli (710) ranks second and Goodyear (702) third. In the performance sport segment, Goodyear (728) ranks second and Bridgestone (712) third. In the truck/utility segment, Goodyear (687) ranks second and BFGoodrich (667) third.

Consumer Tips
Based on the study, J.D. Power offers the following consumer tips:
  • Examine the warranty on the tires when you buy or lease a new car.
  • Ask your dealer for advice on tire maintenance.
  • Be aware that tires on performance cars can be more susceptible to damage from potholes and other irregularities of the road due to their lower profile.
  • Find out if your new vehicle features run-flat tires as standard equipment.
  • When buying tires, consider how you’ll use your vehicle, the climate you’re in, and the type of terrain you’ll be driving on.

About the Study
The 2017 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study measures tire owner satisfaction in four vehicle segments: luxury; passenger car; performance sport; and truck/utility. Satisfaction is examined across four measures: tire wear; tire ride; tire appearance; and tire traction/handling. Study rankings are based solely on owner experiences with their tires after two years of vehicle ownership. The study was fielded between October and December 2016.

Additional Research:

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