Michelin ranks highest in original equipment (OE) tyre satisfaction in four segments, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2005 Original Equipment Tyre Customer Satisfaction Study.

The study is based on responses from more than 32,000 new-vehicle owners who purchased a vehicle between 2003 and 2004. Overall satisfaction of OE tyres is based on performance in five factors: wearability, appearance, traction, ride and handling. Rankings are based on owners' experiences with their tyres during the first year of ownership.

Michelin achieves the highest OE tyre satisfaction index score in each of the four segments included in the study: luxury/sport; mass-market/non-luxury; pickup/full-size van; and SUV. Michelin leads all four segments in the five factors contributing to customer satisfaction.

"Michelin has continually received high ratings from customers in our study," said Carolyn McBeth, director of automotive component research for J.D. Power and Associates. "By listening to its customers and paying attention to market demand trends, Michelin has fostered strong customer satisfaction and thus higher customer repurchase intention."

Tyre wearability continues to be the most important factor contributing to overall customer satisfaction. The study finds that among consumers who experienced problems with their tyres within the first 12 months of ownership, one-half report puncture damage and only 14 percent cite tread wear issues.

"Although it's often difficult to manage customer expectations with original tyres, particularly in the area of wearability, achieving high levels of customer satisfaction in the original equipment market is vital for tyre manufacturers," said McBeth.

"Consumers may not have much say in which tyres come standard with their new vehicle, but they definitely have a choice when it comes time to replace those tyres."