Vehicle Owners in Japan Are Increasingly Turning to the Internet to Purchase Replacement Tires

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Michelin Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Replacement Tires in the Mini-Car/ Compact Car, Midsize and Large Segments; Bridgestone Ranks Highest in the Minivan Segment

TOKYO: 30 October 2014 — An increasing percentage of vehicle owners in Japan are buying their replacement tires online, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2014 Japan Replacement Tire Customer Satisfaction Index StudySM released today.

Now in its sixth year, the study measures vehicle-owner satisfaction with their newly replaced summer tires based on four factors: traction/ handling; ride; wearability; and appearance. Overall satisfaction scores (on a 1,000-point scale) are calculated for four vehicle segments based on owners' evaluations of 10 tire attributes.

In the 2014 study, 20 percent of vehicle owners purchased their tires on the Internet, up from 13 percent in 2013. Among owners who purchase replacement tires online, 57 percent use such online sources as Rakuten Ichiba and Yahoo! Shopping, rather than purchasing online from tire shops or auto parts retailer websites.  

“While customers who purchase their replacement tires on the Internet consider online user reviews, their final purchase decision is primarily based on price,” said Taku Kimoto, executive director of the automotive division at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Tokyo. “When the most important criteria for selection is price, buyers focus only on the price and are more likely to switch brands when buying their next set of replacement tires. That makes it critical for manufacturers to promote awareness of their tires’ attributes as well as price online so that customers can gain a comprehensive perspective.”

Key Findings

  • Regardless of the purchase channel, “the price was cheap/ there was a discount” is the most frequently cited reason for selecting replacement tires, with 41 percent of vehicle owners who purchase from a retail store and 58 percent of online buyers citing this reason.
  • Nearly one-third (32%) of vehicle owners purchase the same brand they last had on their vehicle—whether original equipment or replacement tires—and intend to purchase the same brand when they next replace their tires.
  • Customer satisfaction affects loyalty. Among owners who are highly satisfied with their replacement tires (overall satisfaction scores of 800 or higher), 41 percent indicate they intend to purchase the same brand for their replacement tires. Intended loyalty drops to 36 percent among owners with medium satisfaction (scores of 600-799) and to 31 percent among those with low satisfaction (scores of 400-599).  

2014 Ranking Highlights

The overall satisfaction rankings in the four vehicle segments that are award-eligible are as follows:

  • Owner satisfaction with replacement tires in the mini-car/compact car segment averages 536. Michelin ranks highest in the mini-car/compact car segment with a score of 611, performing particularly well in all four factors. Dunlop ranks second (559), followed by Bridgestone (551).
  • Overall satisfaction in the midsize segment averages 590. Michelin ranks highest in the midsize segment with a score of 649 and performs particularly well in all four factors. Dunlop ranks second (613) and Bridgestone third (607).
  • Satisfaction in the large segment averages 613. Michelin ranks highest with a score of 674 and performs particularly well in all four factors. Bridgestone ranks second with a score of 658.
  • In the minivan segment, overall satisfaction averages 556. Bridgestone ranks highest with a score of 592, and performs particularly well in traction/ handling and ride. Michelin ranks second (590) and Yokohama third (575).

The 2014 Japan Replacement Tire Customer Satisfaction Index Study is based on responses from 7,843 vehicle owners within the first three to 14 months of ownership who purchased new replacement tires (excluding winter tires) between June 2013 and May 2014. The Internet study was fielded between late July and August 2014.

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Media Relations Contacts

Shizue Hidaka; Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan +81-3-4550-8090; shizue_hidaka@jdpower.co.jp

John Tews; Troy, Michigan USA; 001 248 680 6218; john.tews@jdpa.com

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power. www.jdpower.com

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(248) 680-6218

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