Aug 9, 2007

Tirecraft ranks highest in Canadian auto service, says J.D. Power

Toronto, Ontario – Tirecraft Auto Centers rank highest among vehicle service providers in Canada, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Canadian Customer Commitment Index Study released yesterday.

The study, now in its tenth year, measures the service satisfaction and loyalty of owners of two- to 12-year-old vehicles, by examining appointment/check-in, service advisor, work quality, after service and customer orientation.

Tirecraft ranks highest with an index score of 905 on a 1,000-point scale, performing particularly well in all aspects of the service experience. Mr. Muffler placed second with a score of 884, while Autopro was third with 883 points.

“Tire stores generally operate as branded independent facilities, which allows them to combine the best of the independent repair shop model with the name and awareness of a corporate entity,” says Charles Schade, senior director of syndicated research at J.D. Power and Associates in Toronto. “This is the fourth time that a tire facility has been the top-ranked service provider in the study. Tirecraft’s achievement is particularly impressive considering that dealerships are attempting to recapture vehicle service market share by making improvements in customer satisfaction.”

The study found that customer satisfaction has improved for the industry overall, increasing by five index points since 2006 to 846 in 2007. The study also found that while dealerships gained share in the vehicle service market from aftermarket facilities from 2001 to 2005, they experienced a slight decrease in 2006, but regained share in volume of service visits, up 1.3 per cent, and in consumer expenditures, up 2.4 per cent. The market share gain for dealers came primarily from owners of vehicles that are not within the warranty coverage period.

“While it is interesting to see dealers targeting this more lucrative, yet challenging, older-vehicle segment, not all franchises have proved successful in increasing market share,” Schade says. “Ford Motor Company, Chrysler and General Motors franchises received the most significant increases, which could be the result of service initiatives undertaken to protect dealership revenue in the face of declining new-vehicle sales. In contrast, as their fixed operations capacity struggles to keep up with their aggressive gains in new-vehicle sales, fast-growing Japanese franchises have been losing share among ‘in-warranty’ owners.”

The study is based on responses from 18,962 owners of two- to 12-year-old vehicles, surveyed in November 2006 and April 2007.

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