TOKYO: 2 November 2012 — While fuel-efficient tires have continued to penetrate the market, customer satisfaction with these tires, designed to help improve vehicle fuel efficiency, has plateaued, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2012 Japan Replacement Tire Customer Satisfaction Index StudySM released today.
The study, now in its fourth year, examines market trends and measures customer satisfaction with replacement tires (excluding winter tires). Overall customer satisfaction with replacement tires is based on four factors: handling/traction; ride/quietness; durability/reliability; and appearance. Overall satisfaction scores (based on a 1,000-point scale) are calculated based on vehicle owners' evaluations of 17 attributes.
The study finds that 35 percent of vehicle owners with replacement tires have fuel-efficient tires on their vehicle, as defined by the tire labeling system introduced in January 2010, an increase from 27 percent in 2011. This increase in fuel-efficient tire penetration coincides with availability of a wider range of fuel-efficient tires in the market. Fuel efficiency is more often cited as the reason for selecting fuel-efficient tires than are reasons for other tire-related features.
While market penetration is increasing, customer satisfaction with fuel-efficient tires has plateaued since 2011. Satisfaction has leveled off primarily due to lower satisfaction among customers who did not anticipate fuel savings prior to purchasing fuel-efficient tires. Although they have fuel-efficient tires, customers aren't satisfied with the performance of fuel-efficiency unless they actually recognize or experience improved fuel efficiency.
The study also finds that there is a correlation between the grade of low roll resistance, which is one of performance characteristics of fuel-efficient tires defined in the tire labeling system, and satisfaction with fuel efficiency. Satisfaction with fuel efficiency is higher for tires with higher-graded roll resistance. It is important to manufacturers that customers experience a satisfactory level of fuel efficiency in order to increase loyalty, as these customers tend to repurchase the same brand.
"It will be difficult to get customers to focus on a tire brand for being fuel efficient if many of the tire brands available in the market are defined as fuel-efficient tires in the future," said Taku Kimoto, executive director of automotive division at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Tokyo. "It becomes more imperative to have customers experience the fuel efficiency to be realized from their fuel-efficient tires. It is also important to offer tires not only with fuel efficiency, but also with a balanced combination of other features, such as ride/quietness and long-term durability, in order to meet customer needs."
2012 Ranking Highlights
The overall satisfaction rankings in the three vehicle segments that are award-eligible1 in 2012 are as follows:
- Mini-car/compact segment: Michelin ranks highest with a score of 652 points and performs well in all four factors. Michelin is followed by Dunlop (606 points) and Bridgestone (600 points).
- Passenger car segment: Michelin ranks highest with a score of 695 points and performs well in all four factors. Michelin is followed by Bridgestone (674 points) and Dunlop (641 points).
- Mini Van segment: Bridgestone ranks highest with a score of 644 points and performs well in all four factors. Followings are Dunlop (619 points) and Yokohama (611 points).
The 2012 Japan Replacement Tire Customer Satisfaction Index Study is based on responses from 7,047 vehicle owners within the first three to 14 months of ownership who purchased their replacement tires between June 2011 and May 2012. The Internet-based survey for this study was fielded in August 2012.
The Japan Replacement Tire Customer Satisfaction Index Study is one of eight consumer-based benchmark studies conducted by J.D. Power Asia Pacific in Japan. Other 2012 studies conducted by J.D. Power Asia Pacific are as follows:
- The Japan Winter Tire Customer Satisfaction Index Study was released in May 2012.
- The Japan Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which measures satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales process, was released in August 2012.
- The Japan Initial Quality Study (IQS), which measures problems experienced by new-vehicle owners during the first two to nine months of ownership, was released in August 2012.
- The Japan Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study, which measures overall customer satisfaction with service performed at automotive dealer facilities, was released in September 2012.
- The Japan Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which measures what excites and delights owners about their new vehicle's performance and design during the first two to nine months of ownership, was released in September 2012.
- The Japan Original Equipment Tire Satisfaction Index Study, which measures customer satisfaction with original equipment tires equipped on new vehicles, was released in October 2012.
- The Japan Navigation Systems Customer Satisfaction Index Study, which measures customer satisfaction with original equipment and aftermarket navigation systems, was released in October 2012.
1 NOTE: For a segment award to be presented there must be at least four tire brands with sufficient sample. No SUV segments awards have been presented due to insufficient market representation among rankable tire brands in the segment.
About J.D. Power Asia Pacific
J.D. Power Asia Pacific has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries. Together, the five offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. Information regarding J.D. Power Asia Pacific and its products can be accessed through the Internet at www.jdpower.com. Media e-mail contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
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