Customers Less Satisfied with Run-Flat Tires

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March 26, 2015—Customers with run-flat tires are less satisfied overall and replace tires more frequently in the first two years of ownership than do those with non-run-flat tires, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study released today.

The study measures tire owner satisfaction in four vehicle segments: Luxury, passenger car, performance sport and truck/utility. 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.

The study finds that overall satisfaction among owners of run-flat tires lags that of owners of non-run-flat tires across the luxury, passenger car and performance sport segments, a pattern consistent with previous iterations of the study. The difference is most pronounced in the performance sport segment, where satisfaction with non-run-flat tires averages 685 points on a 1,000-point scale and satisfaction with run-flat tires averages 612 points. In the luxury segment, satisfaction with run-flat tires is 24 points lower than with non-run-flat tires (688 vs. 712, respectively).

In all three of the rank-eligible segments, the largest gaps in satisfaction are in tire ride and tire wear.

"The use of run-flat tires is likely to increase as automakers continue to view them as a viable option for improving fuel efficiency by eliminating the need for a spare tire, thereby reducing the weight," said Brent Gruber, director, global automotive division at J.D. Power. "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. While the replacement rate for run-flat tires owners is slightly higher in the first year of ownership (10 percent vs. 7 percent, respectively), the discrepancy becomes more pronounced in the second year of ownership, when 27 percent of run-flat tire owners replaced at least one tire, compared with 16 percent of non-run-flat tire owners.

"While tire manufacturers have made improvements in addressing dealers' reluctance to repair run-flat tires in the same way they would non-run-flat tires, customers with run-flat tires are still replacing them at a much higher rate," said Gruber. "Manufacturers need to continue making progress in this area in order to increase satisfaction and loyalty among their run-flat tire customers."

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