WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (Oct. 14, 2003)—Few vehicles owners use the Internet to buy tires, opting instead to talk to a salesperson about their tire needs, according to the 2003 Replacement Tire Buyer Behavior and Satisfaction Survey by J.D. Power and Associates.
The study also found that Les Schwab Tire Centers Inc. of Prineville, Ore., ranked highest in tire retailer satisfaction for the fourth consecutive year, the Westlake Village-based research firm said. More than 25 percent of Les Schwab's customers said their experience at the dealership was “substantially above expectations” compared with only 15 percent for all tire buyers. Dealerships' were ranked based on four factors: retailer service, personnel, facility and product offering.
Regarding the Web, the satisfaction study found that more than 60 percent of tire buyers access the Internet, but only 16 percent of them use it when they need to buy tires.
“The desire to discuss their needs with a tire salesperson and their intentions to buy from the same retailer are key reasons tire buyers do not use the Internet as a tire shopping tool today,” said Jeff Zupancic, director of the tire practice at J.D. Power.
The study also measured customers' tire satisfaction among car/compact van and light truck owners. The Michelin brand again ranked highest in both product categories, followed by Toyo in car/compact van and BFGoodrich in light truck. Tire product satisfaction is based on a replacement tire satisfaction index that includes five factors: tire ride, durability, handling, traction and appearance. Michelin demonstrated strong performance across all customer-driven measures making up the satisfaction index, J.D. Power said.
In the retail satisfaction portion of the survey, Discount Tire Co. of Scottsdale, Ariz., ranked second behind Les Schwab Tire. Four other retailers—Big O Tires Inc., Goodyear Auto Center, National Tire & Battery and Price Club/Costco—also were above the retailer average. Retailers ranking below the average included Sam's Club, Firestone Car Care Centers, Sears Auto Centers, Wal-Mart, Tires Plus and Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack, according to the survey.
The 2003 J.D. Power study is based on responses from about 7,900 vehicle owners in the U.S. who have recently bought replacement tires for their vehicles.