Owners of non-luxury Japanese- and Korean-make cars and compact vans report lower levels of satisfaction with their original equipment (OE) tires compared with those who own competitive-make European and domestic vehicles, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2003 Original Equipment Tire Satisfaction Study(SM) released Sept. 15.
"Compared to other non-luxury makes such as Chevrolet, Volkswagen and Chrysler, the vast majority of non-luxury Asian makes -- even those with high vehicle satisfaction, including Honda and Toyota -- have lagging OE tire satisfaction levels," said Jeff Zupancic, director of the tire practice at J.D. Power and Associates.
Consistent with a five-year trend, this finding is representative of not only the car/compact van segment as a whole, but also within key, high-volume segments such as compact cars, midsize cars and compact vans. Among owners of vehicles in these high-volume segments-where vehicles are similar in size, weight, configuration, fuel economy, performance and price-the study finds consistently lower OE tire satisfaction among non-luxury Asian makes.
"Satisfaction scores for individual tire brands within non-luxury segments are lower across the board when the tires are on an Asian-make car compared to the same tire brand on a similar domestic car," said Zupancic. "These findings suggest that Asian automakers may want to reassess the OE tire specifications they utilize for their non-luxury cars and compact vans to ensure consumer needs and expectations are being met. Tire manufacturers should look at ways of working with Asian automakers to improve customer satisfaction."
The study, based on the experiences and opinions of more than 30,400 owners in the first two years of new-vehicle ownership, measures consumer satisfaction with OE tires and monitors consumer perceptions regarding tire quality, performance, brand image and service. Overall satisfaction is calculated using a tire satisfaction index that includes five factors: tire durability, traction, appearance, ride and handling. While tire durability is of high importance to both car/compact van owners and light truck owners, tire appearance has much higher importance for light-truck owners due mainly to the influence on appearance of the multitude of tire size and drive type (e.g., two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive) configurations that are available on pickups and SUVs.
Pirelli ranks highest in OE tire satisfaction in the car/compact van segment, with top ratings for tire traction, appearance, ride and handling. Pirelli's key strengths reside in the handling factor, where more than one-half of owners indicate they are "delighted" with each of the handling measures. Uniroyal, Michelin and General follow Pirelli in the car/compact van segment rankings, respectively.
In the light-truck segment, which includes pickups, SUVs and full-size vans, Michelin ranks highest for the fourth straight year, leading in all five factors. On average, 42 percent of Michelin light-truck tire owners are delighted with their OE tires, compared to only 34 percent for all light-truck OE tires. BFGoodrich, Goodyear and Dunlop follow Michelin in the light-truck tire segment, respectively.
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services firm operating in business sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction.
The firm's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.
For more information visit www.jdpa.com