For the second consecutive year, Bridgestone ranks highest in customer satisfaction with original tyres in Thailand, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2004 Thailand Original Tyre Customer Satisfaction Index (TCSI) StudySM released today.

The study, now in its fourth year, measures customer satisfaction with original tyres equipped on new vehicles at 12 to 18 months of ownership. More than 2,300 owners of more than 30 different vehicle models participated in the 2004 survey, which was administered from February 2004 to April 2004.

The TCSI study has been revised for 2004 and is now based on the more extensive and internationally deployed J.D. Power and Associates hierarchical tyre customer satisfaction model.

The new study model assesses overall tyre performance on 19 attributes, which are grouped into the following five factors (listed in order of importance): appearance (33%), durability (22%), ride (16%), traction (15%) and handling (13%). The contribution of each factor to the overall satisfaction with the tyre brand has been statistically derived based on customer responses.

Bridgestone ranks highest with an overall satisfaction index score of 781 out of a maximum of 1,000 points. It also achieves the industry's highest scores on all five factors, with particularly high ratings on the ride and handling factors.

"Bridgestone's impressive performance on all five factors reflects their focus on customer needs," said Gerrit Kuyntjes, general manager at J.D. Power Asia Pacific. "As a result, Bridgestone has the industry-highest proportion of customers (35%) stating they definitely would buy the brand when replacing their original tyres."

Among customers who reported a problem with their tyres, damage from puncture remains the most critical, with 38 percent of respondents experiencing this problem.

The study further reveals that 62 percent of customers who rate the performance of their original tyres as better than expected intend to purchase the same brand when they replace their original tyres. This percentage drops to less than one-third (29%) among customers who rate the performance of tyres to be about as expected.

Higher customer satisfaction also leads to increased advocacy and loyalty levels. While approximately one-tenth of customers who record TCSI scores below average definitely would recommend their tyre brand, this number triples (34%) among customers who record scores at or above the industry average. Similarly, the proportion of customers who definitely intend to repurchase the brand more than doubles when their TCSI scores move from below average to at or above average.