Customers' Experience with the Tires Previously on Their Vehicle Drives Brand Loyalty With Replacement Tires

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Bridgestone Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Replacement Tires in Large and Minivan Segments; Dunlop in Mini-Car/ Compact Segment; Michelin in Midsize Segment

TOKYO: 31 October 2013 The experience customers had with their tires significantly impacts their brand loyalty, as more than one-half of vehicle owners who were satisfied with the tires they previously had on their vehicle replaced them with the same brand, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2013 Japan Replacement Tire Customer Satisfaction Index StudySM released today.

Now in its fifth year, the study examines market trends and measures customer satisfaction with replacement tires (excluding winter tires) purchased new. Overall customer satisfaction with replacement tires is based on four factors: traction/ handling, ride, wearability and appearance. Overall satisfaction scores (based on a 1,000-point scale) are calculated based on owner evaluations of 10 attributes.

The study finds that 52 percent of owners who are highly satisfied (providing ratings of 8 to 10 on a 10-point scale) with their previous tires are repeat buyers who continue to purchase replacement tires from the same brand as their previous tires. In comparison, only 38 percent of owners who are less satisfied (ratings of 5 to 7) with their previous tires replace them with the same brand. Additionally, 50 percent of owners who were highly satisfied with their previous original equipment tires--those fitted on their vehicle when it was new--replaced them with the same brand of tire, while 56 percent of highly satisfied who previously owned replacement tires also repurchased the same brand.

Satisfaction among owners who purchased replacement tires of the same brand as the previous original equipment tires averages 606, compared with an average of 602 among those who previously owned replacement tires.

"At a time when the vehicle ownership cycle is lengthening, the number of tire replacements over a vehicle's lifetime is increasing," said Taku Kimoto, executive director of the automotive division at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Tokyo. "For this reason, the initial experience with the original equipment tires has a significant impact on brand loyalty at the time of subsequent tire replacements. Finding ways to create repeat buyers who continue to use the brand of tires originally fitted on their new vehicles is important for expanding the customer base."

The study finds that 42 percent of vehicle owners compare and consider multiple brands when purchasing replacement tires. Satisfaction is 10 points higher among owners who compared and considered other brands than among those who did not (585 vs. 575, respectively). The most frequently cited reason for selection among all owners who purchased their tires at a retail store is "store employee recommendation" (41%). Among owners who did not compare and consider multiple brands, 45 percent chose their tires based on the "store employee recommendation." In contrast, among owners who did compare and consider multiple brands, only 34 percent cite "store employee recommendation" as the reason they selected their tires.

"Product presentation and messaging at retail stores, including recommendations by store employees, play a key role in the customer purchasing process at the time of the final decision," said Kimoto. "It is becoming increasingly important for tire makers to reinforce retailer and distributor training in product knowledge and selling points, so they are better able to assist their customers."

The study finds that owners of vehicles in the large segment have the highest rate of problems (23%) with their tires' traction/ handling, ride or wearability, while mini/ compact car owners experience the fewest (17%). Overall satisfaction among owners who have not experienced any problems with their replacement tires averages 592, which is 48 points higher than among those who have experienced one or more problems.

2013 Ranking Highlights

The overall satisfaction rankings in the four vehicle segments are as follows:

  • Mini/ Compact car segment: The segment average is 558. Dunlop ranks highest with a score of 580 and performs particularly well in ride, wearability and appearance. Bridgestone ranks second with a score of 577.
  • Midsize segment: The segment average is 598. Michelin ranks highest with a score of 648 and performs particularly well in all four factors. Michelin is followed by Bridgestone with a score of 624.
  • Large segment: The segment average is 630. Bridgestone ranks highest with a score of 670. Michelin performs particularly well in traction/ handling, ride and wearability. Michelin ranks second with a score of 667.
  • Minivan segment: The segment average is 576. Bridgestone ranks highest with a score of 601 and performs particularly well in the traction/ handling factor. Dunlop ranks second with a score of 600. The 2013 Japan Replacement Tire Customer Satisfaction Index Study is based on responses from 7,442 vehicle owners within the first three to 14 months of ownership who purchased their replacement tires between June 2012 and May 2013. The study was fielded in August 2013.

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: cc-group@jdpower.co.jp

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.

Media Relations Contacts

Shizue Hidaka; J.D. Power Asia Pacific; Toranomon 45 MT Bldg. 8F; 5-1-5 Toranomon; Minato-ku, Tokyo; Japan 105-0001; Phone +81-3-4550-8090; shizue_hidaka@jdpower.co.jp

John Tews; Director, Media Relations; J.D. Power; 320 E. Big Beaver; 5th Floor, Suite 500, Troy, MI, 48083 USA; 001 248-680-6218; john.tews@jdpa.com

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power. www.jdpower.com

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