A new study by J.D. Power says that customer satisfaction with their original equipment tires has a dramatic effect on their brand loyalty to their vehicle.
Overall customer satisfaction with original equipment tires affects tire brand loyalty, but also vehicle brand loyalty, according to the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study.
The annual study measures tire owner satisfaction in four key areas (in order of importance): tire wear; tire ride; tire appearance; and tire traction/handling. Rankings are included for four vehicle segments: luxury; passenger car; performance sport; and truck/utility.
Michelin ranks highest in three vehicle segments, scoring 772 in luxury; 756 in passenger car and 730 in truck/utility (out of 1,000). Goodyear ranks highest in performance sport with a score of 753.
And while rankings and the survey both focus on the original equipment segment, it is not a tremendous leap to make assumptions about how important replacement tire choice can be in how consumers feel about their vehicle, and perhaps those who made the recommendations, further into the life of that vehicle.
“There is a big disconnect between consumers’ expectation for the life of their OE tires and their actual experience, which we find not only influences how likely owners are to repurchase the same brand of tire, but also how likely they are to repurchase the same brand of vehicle,” said Brent Gruber, Senior Director, Automotive Quality Practice at J.D. Power.
“Wear is the biggest influence on tire satisfaction and, when unhappy owners need to replace their tires due to rapid wear, they place blame on the tire manufacturer but also on the vehicle manufacturer. Although it is a challenge balancing performance with long tread life, owners expect more from their tires.”
The study finds that owners report replacing full sets of original equipment tires at just over 26,000 miles (41,000 km) on average yet expected more than 40,000 miles (65,000 km) on average.
“Based on typical driving habits, that could result in costly purchases a full year earlier than expected, or worse yet, an unexpected replacement just before turning in a leased vehicle,” Gruber said. “That type of experience can make it very challenging to maintain owner loyalty.”
According to the study, 74% of owners who are extremely satisfied with both their vehicle and original equipment tires indicate that they ‘definitely would’ repurchase their vehicle brand.
However, when satisfaction with the vehicle remains extremely high yet tire satisfaction is less than ideal, only 62% indicate they would definitely repurchase their vehicle brand. “While the tire experience alone may not completely deter someone from remaining loyal to their vehicle brand, a bad tire experience can certainly erode future owner loyalty,” added Gruber.
The 2019 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 27,777 owners of 2017 and 2018 model-year vehicles and was fielded from October through December 2018.