One of the key factors in the enjoyment of your new car is the way it handles on the road, and it is reasonable to expect that the tyres fitted by the manufacturer will provide optimum performance. But do they? CAR brings you the first J D Power and Associates South Africa Original Equipment (OE) Tyre Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study.

One of the key factors in the enjoyment of your new car is the way it handles on the road, and it is reasonable to expect that the tyres fitted by the manufacturer will provide optimum performance. But do they? CAR brings you the first J D Power and Associates South Africa Original Equipment (OE) Tyre Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study.

SOMETIMES overlooked is the fact that the only contact between your brand new vehicle and terra firma is a quartet of palm-sized rubber patches. Yet tyres have much more influence than simply providing contact with Mother Earth: steering effort, ride comfort, noise, overall vehicle looks and, most importantly, passenger safety are just some of the factors affected by those four bands of rubber. Consequently, manufacturers go to great lengths to specify tyres that complement the suspension characteristics of each of their models. The trick is to find something suitable for all manner of conditions in most parts of the globe…

To establish whether customers are satisfied with what they are provided with, for a number of years the world renowned J D Power and Associates has been conducting Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) studies in various countries, and – exclusive to CAR – following are the results of its first South African study of Original Equipment (OE) tyres.

Although customers almost invariably accept the tyres fitted to their new vehicle as a fait accompli, their performance can have a major bearing on the choice of replacements when the time comes. In this inaugural study, nine of South Africa’s most common brands of tyre come under the spotlight.

The survey

J D Power and Associates uses an independent list of customers to ensure unbiased responses. For this study, evaluations were received from more than 5 000 consumers who rated their new vehicle’s tyres after 10 to 21 months of ownership.

The OE tyre CSI is comprised of the ratings given on 19 different attributes, including such factors as the appearance of the tread design, traction, handling response and wear patterns. The 19 tyre characteristics have been split into four categories: appearance, traction, ride and handling, and quality and durability. Each attribute has a weighting within its measure, and each measure has a weighting within the overall index, and these weightings were developed specifically for South African conditions. The weightings are illustrated in the accompanying pie chart.

The criteria

Each brand of tyre is compared with the others in each of the four categories as well as the overall CSI. The four categories are:

Appearance – covers appearance of the sidewalls, including logos and pattern, the tread, and how the tyres look on the vehicle

Traction – covers traction on a variety of surfaces (eg dry, wet, slippery and non-paved roads), and under certain conditions of use (eg fast starts and sudden stops)

Ride and handling – covers handling responsiveness, quietness, lack of vibration at freeway speeds, and roadholding capabilities

Quality and durability – covers durability of tread considering distance covered, evenness of wear, and resistance to puncturing.

In each of these categories, a rating – from poor through average to excellent – is given for each brand. Each brand’s overall rating is given as both an index figure, and is classified from poor to outstanding. CSI scores are calculated so that the maximum possible score is 1 000.

Individual results

Pirelli and Michelin emerged as the highest rated OE tyres, with each brand receiving excellent ratings in each of the four satisfaction categories, and excellent overall verdicts. Continental and Yokohama both received above average ratings in three of the four categories, and average in the other (Continental for quality and durability, Yokohama for appearance). Both received overall verdicts.

ratings in all four categories were received by Goodyear, whereas Bridgestone and Dunlop rated the same in three, with below average scores in the other (Bridgestone for quality and durability, Dunlop for appearance). All three were rated overall.

Firestone was rated for quality and durability, and poor in the other three, with a overall verdict. Kumho was rated in two of the categories, and in traction and quality and durability, with a overall rating.

Brand ranking

Of the nine brands evaluated in the study (insufficient responses were received for other brands to be fairly included in the study), Pirelli topped the chart with 852 points out of the maximum possible 1 000. Following were Michelin (831), Continental (792) and Yokohama (791). Next, and below the industry average score of 778, were Bridgestone (776), Goodyear (772), Dunlop (768), Firestone (749) and, lastly, Kumho (742).

People Power

J D Power and Associates was established in California in 1968 by J D “ Dave” Power, and is a global marketing information firm that conducts independent and unbiased surveys of customer satisfaction, product quality and buyer behaviour. The company does not review, judge or test products and services itself. Its studies are based on actual customer satisfaction survey responses: “It’s the customers who are talking – we’re just listening,” Dave Power points out.

J D Power and Associates is best known for its work in the automotive industry, for which it holds the largest historical customer satisfaction database. Staffed by more than 600 consultants, statisticians, data processors and administrative personnel, the company funds virtually all of its customer satisfaction research, and independent statisticians have validated its research methodologies, which provide accurate and consistent measurement tools.

Original article from Car