WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.The Michelin and Pirelli brands grabbed the top spots in J.D. Power and Associates' 2015 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study, but consumers in general gave run-flat tires poor marks, saying they are less satisfied overall and replace tires more frequently in the first two years of ownership than do drivers with non-run-flat tires.
Among individual brands, Michelin was ranked highest in the luxury (745 points out of 1,000 possible) and passenger car (714) segment, while Pirelli took top honors in the performance sport segment (693).
Michelin North America Inc. said these latest wins are its 76th and 77th J.D Power awards, more than three times that of all other tire makers combined in the study's 25 years of existence.
Pirelli's top ranking was its fourth category win out of the last six years, prompting Pierluigi Dinelli, chairman and CEO for Pirelli Tire North America, to note that his company's growing leadership in North American motorsports,...is the backbone of why we excel in this performance sport category.
Pirelli ranked second in the luxury segment, while Goodyear ranked second in the passenger car segment. According to the findings, in the performance sport segment, Michelin ranked second and Goodyear third.
Following Goodyear in the luxury segment were Dunlop, Continental and Bridgestone. In the performance sport segment, following Pirelli, were: Michelin, Goodyear, Bridgestone and Continental.
The company said the study, conducted in November and December 2014, measured tire owner satisfaction in four vehicle segments: luxury, passenger car, performance sport and truck/utility. J.D. Power said satisfaction is examined in four factors: tire wear; tire ride; tire appearance; and tire traction/handling. Rankings are based on owner experiences with their tires after two years of vehicle ownership.
Regarding run-flat tires, Brent Gruber, director of J.D. Power's global automotive division, said: The use of run-flat tires is likely to increase as auto makers continue to view them as a viable option for improving fuel efficiency by eliminating the need for a spare tire, thereby reducing the weight. It's vital that auto and tire manufacturers address the ride and wear issues, which are still not meeting customer expectations.
Customers expect that run-flat tires won't compromise tread life or the ability to provide a quiet and comfortable ride.
Owners with run-flat tires also replace tires more frequently in the first two years of ownership than do non-run-flat customers, the survey found.
Other key findings of the Power survey included:
c Tire brand image influences customer satisfaction with the product. Manufacturers that convey an image of product value and environmental responsibility positively influence overall customer satisfaction, Power said. However, a customer's image of the brand can erode over time if the product ultimately fails to meet their performance expectations. Projecting the right image for the brand is crucial, as 51 percent of customers who intend to purchase new tires cite brand reputation as a criterion for purchase, the highest among all purchase criteria.
c For owners who have replaced one or more of their OE tires within the last 18 months, the most commonly cited criterion when selecting their new tires is that they match the other tires already on the vehicle. This is true for both purchase (32 percent) and lease (48 percent) customers. The second most frequently cited criterion is a recommendation from a sales or service person, cited by 11 percent of customers.
c Among generational groups, Gen Y customerspersons born during the 1980s and early 1990srely more heavily on their family and friends as a source of information for which replacement tire brand to purchase than do the older generations.