WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (Sept. 9, 2002) — It's beginning to become a habit. For the fifth year in a row, Michelin brand tires rank first in J.D. Power and Associates' 2002 Original Equipment Tire Satisfaction Study.
The Greenville, S.C.-based manufacturer also tops the J.D. Power rankings in light truck OE tire satisfaction for a third consecutive year.
Michelin North America has now won 34 awards, or 81 percent of those handed out by J.D. Power in the category's history.
The study monitors consumer perceptions regarding tire quality, performance, brand image and service. Results are calculated using a tire satisfaction index, which includes five factors: product quality; long-term performance; situational performance; design; and winter traction.
In the passenger vehicle segment, Michelin had an overall index score of 114 and scored first in four of the five categories. Toyo and Pirelli tires, each with a score of 106, and Continental with 104 followed Michelin and finished above the industry average of 103.
Among light trucks, Michelin scored slightly lower across the board, netting 110 points. Yokohama was second with 104. Goodyear and Uniroyal (102), BFGoodrich (101), Dunlop (100) and Bridgestone (99) also finished above the industry average of 95.
“While the typical product cycle for a vehicle is five years, the product cycle for original equipment tires is only two years on average,” said Jeff Zupancic, director of the tire practice at J.D. Power. “Given the higher frequency of product cycles for OE tires, the success of tire manufacturers in the OE market is largely dependent on the robustness of their research and development and manufacturing processes, areas in which Michelin seems to be performing very well.”
The Power findings are based upon the responses of 33,746 consumers in their first three years of new vehicle ownership. In the tire category, the studies provide specific feedback on tire quality, wearability and handling.
Michelin also was found to have the lowest percentage of owners reporting tire problems in the first year of ownership. Among year-one owners, more than 60 percent say they plan to repurchase Michelin tires, the highest repurchase intention of all tire brands.
“Maintaining higher customer satisfaction is key to tire manufacturers because there is a strong positive relationship between satisfaction and repurchase intention in the aftermarket,” Mr. Zupancic said. “Those tire brands that have the highest levels of customer satisfaction also have the highest percentage of customers who report that they intend to buy that same tire brand in the future.”
The study also found that one of five owners experiences a tire problem in the first year of ownership, with 12 percent having to replace one or more tires. The most commonly reported problem among all tire brands is punctures.
“Over the past decade, tire manufacturers have invested significantly in new technology and designs such as self-sealing tires, run-flat tires and other extended mobility-based systems to address this leading source of tire problems,” Mr. Zupancic said. “With consumer interest in run-flat tires at an all-time high, it will be interesting to assess consumer acceptance of the latest generation of extended mobility systems, such as Michelin's PAX system and Continental's Conti Safety Ring system, which are scheduled to be introduced into the original equipment market within the next year or two.”