There's a New Top Tire Brand in AutoPacific's Owner Satisfaction Rankings

March 11, 2016

For the first time in five years of rankings, there's a new top tire brand in AutoPacific's Replacement Tire Brand Dynamics and Satisfaction Study.

Tire brands Pirelli and Michelin have held the top two spots in AutoPacific's Replacement Tire Owner Satisfaction Awards since the company's first study was published five years ago, with Michelin ranking No. 1 and Pirelli No. 2 each year. But the latest installment of AutoPacific's annual Replacement Tire Brand Dynamics and Satisfaction Study shows Pirelli has taken the top spot from Michelin.

Here are the satisfaction score rankings:

Brand 2013 2014 2015 Change from 2014
Pirelli 2 2 1 +1
Michelin 1 1 2 -1
Firestone 7 4 3 +1
Goodyear 3 5 4 +1
BF Goodrich 4 6 5 +1 
Bridgestone 5 7 6 +1 
Toyo 12 9 7  +2
Uniroyal 9 12 8 +4 
Yokohama 8 8 9 -1 
GT Radial 21 14 10 +4 
Cooper 10 10 11 -1 
Dunlop 13 16 12 +4 
Nexen 17 21 13 +8 
Hankook 16 18 14 +4 
Continental 11 15 15 Unchanged 
General 15 13 16 -3 
Kelly 14 19 17 +2 
Nitto 6 3 18 -15 
Falken 18 20 19 +1 
Kumho 19 17 20 -3 
Fuzion 20 11 21 -10 

AutoPacific's Replacement Tire Owner Satisfaction Awards measure how satisfied owners are with 17 different tire attributes, ranging from performance and traction to fuel efficiency and price. The satisfaction rating is weighted by the importance rating for each attribute, communicating how well each tire brand performs to the needs and expectations of their owners.

George Peterson, president of AutoPacific and author of the study, provides this example: "Pirelli owners place high importance on performance characteristics like cornering and traction, in addition to the more common attributes of safety, reputation, and warranty. To rank at the top in our owner satisfaction awards, it is imperative that Pirelli not just perform well, but perform exceptionally well in areas, like performance, that mean the most to their owners."

Firestone, Toyo and GT Radial have all climbed consistently in their rankings since 2013. All three brands are now in the top 10, with Firestone moving into 3rd place. "GT Radial's consistent climb in ranking is interesting because the brand has such a high percentage of first time buyers," says Peterson.

According to AutoPacific data, brands with a high percentage of buyers who are new to the brand have historically had fluctuating satisfaction ratings, as is the case with Nexen, Fuzion, and Nitto.

"GTRadial has actually been able to increase their percentage of first time buyers over the years (60% in 2015) and continue to climb in satisfaction rankings by giving buyers what they're looking for: a maintenance-free, reliable tire at a good price."

AutoPacific's data revealed winners in three categories:

2015 Overall Winner: Pirelli

2015 Top Car Replacement Tire Brand: Pirelli 

2015 Top Truck Replacement Tire Brand: Firestone

AutoPacific also categorized tire brands by vehicle segments:

Luxury car: Pirelli

Large car: Goodyear

Mid-size car: BF Goodrich

Compact car: Michelin

Sport/sporty car: Pirelli

Compact/mid-size SUV: Michelin

Compact/mid-size crossover SUV: Goodyear

Large/luxury crossover SUV: Hankook

Van/minivan: Yokohama

Full-size pickup: Firestone

AutoPacific says its 2015 Replacement Tire Brand Dynamics and Satisfaction Study contains responses from 7,784 recent replacement tire buyers about their satisfaction with their new tires, as well as many other topics including purchase process, brand image, retailer selection and satisfaction, and media consumption. Brand awareness is captured from 75,443 respondents.

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