The research also found that many of the tyre brands fitted to new vehicles are below the industry average in terms of local customer satisfaction.
Pirelli retained the top spot for a second consecutive year with an overall CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) score of 841 based on a 1000-point scale. Five index points separate Pirelli from second-place Michelin (836). Bridgestone (815) and Yokohama (798) also achieved above industry average scores. However, Firestone (769), Goodyear (780), Dunlop (781) and Continental (789) tyres were all ranked below the average of 790. The two lowest-ranked tyre brands were Korea’s Kumho (766) and Hankook (752). BFGoodrich, General, India, Kelly, Kleber, Toyo and Uniroyal were all included in the study, but not ranked due to insufficient sample size.
The study measured owner satisfaction with the tyres fitted to a new vehicle at the time of purchase. It identified four factors that contribute to overall satisfaction: tyre quality and durability (50 per cent), tyre ride/handling (18 per cent), tyre appearance (16 per cent) and tyre traction (16 per cent). These factors were weighted to reflect their importance to local motorists.
Owners of new vehicles fitted with Pirelli tyres said they had the most satisfying experience and gave the highest ratings for appearance, traction and ride/handling. Michelin got the highest score for quality and durability, with 19 per cent of Michelin tyre owners experiencing problems. Next best were Bridgestone, Dunlop and Pirelli, each with 25 per cent of owners reporting problems. The most common types of tyre problems experienced were the need for realignment, damage from road debris and uneven wear.
Brian Walters, JD Power and Associates’ senior director of European operations, said that although most buyers did not choose which tyres were fitted to their new vehicles, they were in the best position to evaluate how those tyres performed under the rigours of daily driving. "Among the rewards of having high customer satisfaction are increased levels of brand advocacy and loyalty," he said. Locally based motor manufacturers mainly use Continental, Dunlop, Goodyear, Firestone and Bridgestone tyres.
Bill Stephens, Volkswagen South Africa’s communications general manager, told local newspaper Business Report that of the tyres surveyed, the only ones it did not fit to the vehicles it marketed in South Africa were Yokohama, Kumho and Hankook. He said the choice of tyre depended on the vehicle’s specifications. A General Motors South Africa (GMSA) spokesperson commented that GMSA had tyre purchasing arrangements with all the locally available tyre brands except Yokohama, but did not fit Pirelli or Michelin. Hendon added that Kumho and Hankook tyres were fitted to the Chevrolet products that it sourced out of Korea. Ben Pillay, a Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa spokesperson said Goodyear, Firestone, Dunlop, Pirelli, Continental and Bridgestone tyres were fitted to local cars. Michelin was not used locally, but its tyres were fitted on some exports destined for Australia.
The 2005 JD Power and Associates 2005 South Africa Tyre study is based on questionnaire responses from more than 6900 owners of new vehicles first registered between October 2003 and September 2004. The study was conducted independently by JD Power and Associates with cooperation from the South Africa Department of Transport, which facilitated the distribution of the questionnaires. JD Power and Associates and JD Power Asia Pacific also conduct tyre customer satisfaction studies in the United States, Japan and India.