January 21, 2002

Michelin and Yokohama tires rank highest in J.D. Power and Associates Canadian customer satisfaction survey

Agoura Hills, California – Michelin and Yokohama brand tires ranked highest in customer satisfaction in a tie among passenger car and light-van owners replacing their tires, according to the inaugural J.D. Power and Associates 2001 Canadian Replacement Tire and Retailer Customer Satisfaction Study released on Friday.

Michelin brand tires also earned the highest customer satisfaction scores among light-truck and SUV owners replacing tires.

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“As a testament to their top-ranked positions and strong product reputations, buyers of Michelin and Yokohama tires are more likely than owners of other brands to say they purchased these brands because they wanted a better quality tire,” said Mike Tamayo, manager of research projects at J.D. Power and Associates in Toronto. “Additionally, nine out of 10 Michelin and Yokohama owners indicate that they will either ‘probably’ or ‘definitely’ repurchase these brands the next time they are in the market for tires.”

The Michelin and Yokohama brands perform strongest in the areas of situational performance (such as emergency handling and traction on wet and snow-covered roads) and product quality (including resistance to blow-outs and the perceived safety of tires).

In the light-truck/SUV segment, top-ranked Michelin exceled in driveability (e.g., tire quietness and ride at highway speeds) and styling. In terms of winter tire performance, Michelin’s Arctic Alpin and Bridgestone’s Blizzak line of winter tires received high scores by owners for traction on snow- and ice-covered roads.

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“These tires also received strong ratings for their tread design, which is important because customers often associate a particular tread design with a tire’s ability to provide good grip on snow and ice,” said Tamayo.

The service customers receive at a tire retailer is highly important to consumers in terms of their overall satisfaction. The staff and service of a tire retailer comprise 73 percent of overall customer satisfaction, far outweighing factors such as competitive pricing and selection. Independent tire dealers offer the best customer service, ranking highest in customer satisfaction among replacement tire purchasers, followed by stores owned by tire companies and tire chain outlets.

“Customers rate the independents favourably in terms of staff knowledge and expertise as well as in the quality of work performed,” Tamayo said. “This high customer satisfaction with independent tire retailers is further reinforced with the highest rate of repurchase intent – 53 percent of customers say they definitely intend to go to these establishments to acquire new tires.”

The 2001 Canadian Replacement Tire and Retailer Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 4,200 vehicle owners who recently purchased replacement tires for their passenger cars, light vans, trucks and SUVs.

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