In this year's case, it's Michelin and Pirelli. In J.D. Power and Associates' major annual tire study, Michelin was rated highest in Power's luxury, passenger car, and truck/utility market segments, while Pirelli took the top spot in the performance sport category.
Pirelli tires—offered on a number of performance cars, including as part of the optional Brembo Brake Package on the 2011 Ford Mustang GT—did especially well in the appearance and ride portions, according to Power.
The annual study, called the U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study, gauges tire owner satisfaction after two years of ownership by looking at four primary factors: wearability, appearance, traction/handling, and ride.
Power found that there were more problems with slow leaks in tires this year versus last (13.4 problems per 100 vehicles, versus 12.0 last year).
Michelin Pilot Sport 3
And, J.D. Power notes, owners have been more accepting of slow leaks in tires but less tolerant about uneven wear or excessive noise.
Power says that having trouble-free tires is crucial to 'brand advocacy'—and quite likely loyalty. The firm noted a huge difference in overall satisfaction scores between those who had one or more problems versus none at all.