Tirecraft Auto Centers rank highest amongst vehicle service providers in Canada, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Canadian Customer Commitment Index StudySM released today. The study, now in its 10th year, measures the service satisfaction and loyalty of owners of 2- to 12-year-old vehicles. Overall customer satisfaction with their vehicle service provider is determined by examining five key factors: appointment/check-in, service advisor, work quality, after service and customer orientation. Tirecraft Auto Centers rank 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 (884) and Autopro (883)respectively, follow Tirecraft in the rankings. 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, said 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. Tirecrafts achievement is particularly impressive considering that dealerships are attempting to re-capture vehicle service market share by making improvements in customer satisfaction. The study finds that customer satisfaction has improved for the industry overallincreasing by 5 index points since 2006 to 846 in 2007. Twenty out of the 40 facilities included in the rankings posted improvements, while 17 declined in overall customer satisfaction (three facilities were ranked for the first time). The study also finds that while dealerships gained share in the vehicle service market from aftermarket facilities from 2001 to 2005, they experienced a slight decrease in market share in 2006. However, in 2007, dealerships once again gained share in terms of the volume of service visits (up 1.3%) and in consumer expenditures (up 2.4%). Additionally, the market share gain for dealers primarily came from owners of 4- to 7- and 8- to 12- year old vehicles, as opposed to owners whose vehicles are still within the warranty coverage period. With more than 13 million vehicles within the 2- to 12-year old segment, owners of these vehicleswho spend an average of $850 per year on service and repairsaccount for an $11 billion market. 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, said Schade. 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. As more choices become available to owners, and the volume of service activity rises among facilities, the entire experience surrounding vehicle service has become increasingly important to owners when selecting a vehicle service facility. In 2007, whether the owner had a good experience during their previous visit has increased in importance when selecting a service facility. The 2007 Canadian Customer Commitment Index Study is based on responses from 18,962 owners of 2- to 12- year-old vehicles. Owners were surveyed in November 2006 and April 2007.