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J.D. Power 2014 Original Equipment Tire Study Indicates Business Opportunity for Tire Manufacturers

By: Jeff Youngs, 3/28/2014
Companies that produce replacement tires for pickup trucks may want to consider the results of the J.D. Power 2014 Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study,SM which finds that pickup truck owners are among the most interested consumers in replacing their original equipment tires with tires that improve fuel economy.

This is just one of the insights contained in the latest Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study, which finds that satisfaction with original equipment tires has improved significantly during the past 5 years, by 22%. According to the study, the greatest improvements in customer satisfaction occur in terms of fast tread wear, slow leaks, and uneven tread wear.

"The steady drop in problems is reflective of the efforts manufacturers have made to improve the quality of their tires," said Brent Gruber, director, global automotive division at J.D. Power. "The fact that the greatest improvements are in tire wear, which has the largest impact on satisfaction, is good news for consumers who place great value on long tread life from their tires."

The 2014 Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study measures satisfaction in four factors related to the tires that are installed on a vehicle when it is assembled at the factory: tire wearability, tire ride, tire appearance, and tire traction/handling. The vehicle population is separated into passenger car, truck/utility, luxury, and performance/sport segments, and survey respondents have owned their vehicles for at least two years.

In the study, Michelin ranks highest in the passenger car, truck/utility, and luxury segments. Pirelli ranks highest in the performance/sport segment.

According to J.D. Power, when vehicle owners do not experience problems with their tires, they are more likely to purchase the same brand of tires upon replacement and that they are more likely to recommend that brand of tire to friends and family. Following a problem with tires, loyalty rates dip from 36% to 24%, while advocacy rates fall from 32% to 18%.

Furthermore, vehicle owners are more forgiving of tire problems that are related to road hazards, such as potholes in streets. When problems are related to tread wear, ride quality, or poor traction/handling, loyalty rates drop into single-digit territory.

As far as fuel economy is concerned, half of the survey respondents indicate that while they believe the type of tire installed on their vehicle can improve fuel economy, only one-third of the people surveyed indicate that improving fuel efficiency will be a goal when purchasing replacement tires, a sentiment most commonly expressed by sub-compact car owners. However, midsize pickup truck and large light-duty pickup truck owners also indicate an interest in purchasing replacement tires that will help their vehicle to get better gas mileage.

J.D. Power's Gruber says this reflects a business opportunity for replacement tire manufacturers: "Considering the volume of the pickup truck market in the United States and the receptivity for fuel-efficient tires among this segment of owners, there is considerable opportunity for developing and marketing tire products to meet their needs."

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