The inaugural J.D. Power and Associates Canadian Replacement Tire and Retailer Customer Satisfaction Study has ranked Michelin and Yokohama brand passenger and light truck tires in a tie for highest customer satisfaction for 2001.
Michelin also earned the best customer satisfaction scores among light truck and sport-utility vehicle owners replacing tires, Agoura Hills-based J.D. Power said.
``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,'' a J.D. Power spokesman said. ``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 areas of ``situational performance, such as emergency handling and traction on wet and snow-covered roads,'' J.D. Power said, adding that, among light truck tires, Michelin excels in driveability-such as noise level and ride characteristics at highway speeds-and styling.
In the area of winter tire performance, Michelin's Arctic Alpine and Bridgestone/Firestone's Blizzak winter tire lines received high scores by owners for traction on snow- and ice-covered roads, J.D. Power said.
The Power survey also revealed that the service received at tire retailers is highly important in terms of overall consumer satisfaction. The survey indicated that staff and service comprises 73 percent of customer satisfaction, outpacing such aspects as competitive pricing and selection.
It also said independent tire dealers ranked highest in customer satisfaction among places to purchase replacement tires. Tire makers' company-owned stores and tire chain outlets followed.
``Customers rate the independents favorably in terms of staff knowledge and expertise as well as in the quality of work performed,'' the spokesman said. He also noted that ``53 percent of customers say they definitely intend to go to these establishments to acquire new tires.''
The 2001 study is based on responses from more than 4,200 vehicle owners who recently purchased replacement tires for their passenger cars, vans, trucks and sport-utility vehicles.