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J.D. POWER & ASSOCIATES 1993 REPLACEMENT TIRE STUDY REPORTS MICHELIN HIGHEST IN CUSTOMER SATISFACTION WITH RETAILERS IMPACTING RESULTS

 AGOURA HILLS, Calif., June 14 /PRNewswire/ -- J.D. Power and Associates released its annual, independently funded study of the replacement tire market designed to define the "hows" and "whys" of the process consumers go through when purchasing new tires. Based on responses from roughly 30,000 owners of 1988 and 1989 model-year cars, the study measures customer satisfaction in two important areas: (1) satisfaction with the tires purchased as replacements for original-equipment tires, and (2) customer satisfaction with the sales support provided by the retailer. This second annual study shows that purchasers of the Michelin brand are the most satisfied with their replacement tires and that service stations and independent tire dealers are the most effective retail outlets in providing satisfaction with the purchase experience.
 The study dramatically highlights the important role played by the different types of retailers in creating customer satisfaction. When tire buyers were asked to rate the performance of their retailer during the shopping and purchasing experience in areas such as "knowledge/expertise of the personnel" and "quality of work performed," the different types of retailers clustered into four tiers of performance.
 Service stations and independent tire dealers are by far the most effective types of retailers in satisfying the customer during the shopping/purchase experience and represent the top tier. Company-owned tire stores and discount tire chains form the second tier, while warehouse/discount clubs and auto parts stores represent the third tier. Lastly, mass merchandisers receive alarmingly low ratings for their effectiveness in meeting the shopping/purchase needs of the customers and form the bottom tier.
 These performances have a direct impact on how likely a customer will be to return to a given retailer -- more that 50 percent of the consumers who bought tires at an independent tire dealer indicate that they will definitely return for their next purchase, while only 30 percent of those who bought tires from a mass merchandiser say they will definitely return for their next tire purchase.
 The study also illustrates how important it is for tire manufacturers to create high levels of customer satisfaction with the tire because of the high correlation between replacement tire satisfaction and repurchase intent. Basically, this correlation means that higher levels of satisfaction result in higher levels of repurchase intentions. Tire buyers are not very loyal as only 32 percent of those surveyed bought the same brand they were replacing, while only 36 percent intend to remain loyal when they next purchase tires. Therefore, maximizing satisfaction is crucial in creating positive repurchase intentions and maximizing loyalty.
 The Replacement Tire Satisfaction Index (RTSI) is based on customer satisfaction with the appearance and performance of their tires, tire product quality, and satisfaction with their retailer. The tire brands ranking above average in customer satisfaction are: Michelin, Toyo, Bridgestone, Pirelli, and Uniroyal. BF Goodrich earns a satisfaction score that is equal to the industry average. The remaining nine brands ranked below industry average. These brands, listed in alphabetical order, are: Cooper, Continental, Dunlop, Firestone, General, Goodyear, Kelly-Springfield, Sears, and Yokohama. The following brands were not officially ranked because of small sample sizes: Armstrong, Atlas, Big O, Dayton, Hercules, Montgomery Ward, Remington, and Summit.
 The 1993 Replacement Tire Study is just one part of J.D. Power and Associates' efforts to serve the tire industry. By focusing on owner perceptions and behavior during the tire replacement process, the Replacement Tire Study augments the annual Original Equipment Tire Satisfaction Study which will be released in August 1993. J.D. Power and Associates' tire industry efforts will be expanded further with the publication of a study of the tire dealer/manufacturer relationship which is scheduled for publication in December 1993.
 J.D. Power and Associates is an international marketing information firm with headquarters in Agoura Hills and offices in Detroit; Westport, Conn.; Torrance, Calif.; Palo Alto, Calif. and Tokyo. The firm is best known for its marketing information, consulting and measurement expertise in the areas of consumer opinion and customer satisfaction.
 -0- 6/14/93
 /CONTACT: Patricia A. Patano or Jim Olson of J.D. Power & Assoc., 818-889-6330/


CO: J.D. Power And Associates ST: California IN: AUT SU:

JB-LM -- LA007 -- 1448 06/14/93 09:06 EST
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Date:Jun 14, 1993
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