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For the sixth consecutive year, Arai helmets rank highest in customer satisfaction among all motorcycle helmets, according to the new J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction StudySM. Arai has, in fact, earned the top spot every year since J.D. Power first began the helmet study six years ago.

With strong ratings from its customers for fit and comfort, color/graphic design, and ventilation, Arai ranks highest overall among the nine helmet brands included in the study rankings. "Arai continues to demonstrate its ability to produce high-quality products that satisfy its customers, making it a trusted brand among motorcycle enthusiasts, " said Todd Mundorf, study director at J.D. Power and Associates.

Roger Weston, president of Arai Americas in Daytona Beach, FL, admitted to some hesitation and surprise when asked about his company's continued number-one position.

"After six straight years, you tend to risk repeating yourself. How many ways can you say "thank you" to all the riders who chose us." Weston added that the J.D. Power award is the most meaningful to him because it comes from the riders themselves. "It's them telling us we're doing a decent job, which is especially nice because Arai tends to focus on all the things we think we're not doing that well, the things we can do better. Maybe that attitude is what keeps us at number one: We don't rest, we're never satisfied, never happy. We're always looking."

He singled out the people at Arai's Japanese headquarters: "Mr. Arai always says there is no "unimportant" part of an Arai helmet. Everything contributes to the whole, no matter how minor. The pursuit of an ideal is very real around there. It has to be. Arai is not a big company. We only build high-end helmets, one at a time, with no mid- or low-price models because Mr. Arai doesn't believe in them. So that tends to limit the number of people who are willing, or able, to pay the price for what we do."

The J.D. Power study finds that style/color, comfort/fit and price remain the top three reasons for purchasing a helmet. Two-thirds of recent helmet purchasers cite style/color and comfort/fit among the top three factors that influenced their purchase decision, while almost one-half indicate that price was among the most important attributes. The study also finds that as customer age increases, the propensity to choose a helmet based heavily on style and color decreases, with considerably more emphasis being placed on comfort and fit.

"Rider preferences for the type of bikes and helmets they buy tend to change with age and experience," said Mundorf. "Younger riders, particularly those who own sport bikes, place somewhat greater importance on a helmet that matches the latest color and graphic trends."

The 2004 Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 7,000 purchasers of new 2003 model-year motorcycles who provided information about their most recent helmet purchase experience and helmet use.

From PMG

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