TOKYO: 10 October 2013 — Vehicle owners in Japan expect the tires that come with their new vehicle to be perfect, as even a single problem with their factory-equipped tires has a significant negative impact on their satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2013 Japan Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Index (OE-TSI) StudySM released today.
The study, now in its 12th year, measures satisfaction among original equipment tire owners based on four factors: traction/handling; ride; wearability; and appearance. Overall satisfaction with original equipment tires is 561 (on a 1,000-point scale). Satisfaction is highest in the midsize vehicle segment, with an average score of 590, followed by the minivan segment at 557 and the mini-car segment at 529.
The study examines the number of problems owners have experienced with their OE tires out of 24 possible problem areas. Overall satisfaction is 54 points higher among customers who do not experience any problems than among those who do experience a tire problem (571 vs. 517, respectively). The satisfaction gap is largest in the minivan segment at 65 points.
The two most frequently experienced problems are pebbles caught in the tire tread and road and vibration noise, which affect vehicle ride and quietness, and have a strong impact on satisfaction.
"Vehicles are becoming increasingly quiet, especially hybrid and electric vehicles, which makes owners even more sensitive to abnormal noise caused by stones stuck in the tire treads," said Taku Kimoto, executive director of the automotive division at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Tokyo. "Owners are acutely attuned to noise and vibrations caused by their tires, a problem more prevalent than traction and handling issues."
As sales of hybrid, electric and other fuel-efficient vehicles are increasing, the number of original equipment tire brands that offer products marketed as fuel-efficient tires is increasing as well. The study finds, however, that only 14 percent of owners perceive that tires which are equipped with their vehicle contribute to fuel efficiency. Among owners who rate their tires highly for fuel economy (10 on a 10-point scale), 88 percent indicate an intention to repurchase the same brand of tires when they need to be replaced.
"Customer awareness of fuel-efficiency tires is low," said Kimoto. "However, in the replacement tire market, fuel efficiency is an evaluation item in Japan's tire labeling system, and consumers pay attention to fuel-efficiency ratings when selecting tires."
Kimoto notes that for tire manufacturers to improve customer loyalty, it's important for them to not only provide fuel-efficient tires, but also to make customers aware of the products and their benefits through their marketing and sales efforts.
Overall, 34 percent of owners use winter tires (studless snow tires), with usage increasing to 96 percent among those who live in heavy snowfall areas in Japan. In fact, 51 percent of owners who are highly satisfied with their OE tires (ratings of 8 to 10) have already purchased the same brand of winter tires for their vehicle.
"Since customer brand retention for winter tires is affected by satisfaction with OE tires, it's crucial that tire makers provide an original tire that satisfies their customers in order to build customer loyalty for both winter and replacement tires," said Kimoto.
2013 Ranking Highlights
The overall satisfaction rankings in the three vehicle segments that are award-eligible are as follows:
- Mini-car segment: Bridgestone ranks highest for a fourth consecutive year (548), performing particularly well in all four factors. Dunlop ranks second (542).
- Midsize segment: Bridgestone ranks highest (613), and performs particularly well in all four factors. Michelin ranks second (597).
- Minivan segment: Dunlop ranks highest (574), performing well in the traction/handling, wearability and appearance factors. Bridgestone ranks second (568).
The 2013 Japan Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Index (OE-TSI) Study is based on responses from 5,756 new-vehicle owners during the first five to 16 months of ownership. The Internet-based study was fielded in July 2013.
The Japan Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Index (OE-TSI) Study is one of eight consumer-based benchmark studies conducted by J.D. Power Asia Pacific in Japan. Other 2013 studies conducted by J.D. Power Asia Pacific include:
- The 2013 Japan Winter Tire Customer Satisfaction Index Study, which measures overall customer satisfaction with winter tires, was released in May.
- The 2013 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 late August.
- The 2013 Japan Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which measures satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales process, was released in late August.
- The 2013 Japan Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study, which measures overall customer satisfaction with service performed at automotive dealer facilities, was released in late September.
- The 2013 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 late September.
- The 2013 Japan Navigation Systems Customer Satisfaction Index Studies, one which measures customer satisfaction with factory-installed (OEM) navigation systems and the other with aftermarket navigation systems, will be released in October.
- The 2013 Japan Replacement Tire Satisfaction Study, which measures customer satisfaction with replacement tires, will be released in October.
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 japan.jdpower.com. Media email contact: email@example.com
About J.D. Power
J.D. Power is a global marketing information services company providing performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power has offices in North/South America, Europe and Asia Pacific. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power is a business unit of McGraw Hill Financial.
About McGraw Hill Financial
McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI) is a leading financial intelligence company providing the global capital and commodity markets with independent benchmarks, credit ratings, portfolio and enterprise risk solutions, and analytics. The Company's iconic brands include: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, CRISIL, J.D. Power, and McGraw Hill Construction. The Company has approximately 17,000 employees in 27 countries. Additional information is available at www.mhfi.com.
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