International, Peterbilt, Kenworth rank highest in satisfaction survey
Jul 12, 2011 3:07 PM
Overall quality of heavy-duty trucks has improved substantially in 2011 compared with 2010, but whether these quality gains can be sustained in the face of greater production and new emissions regulations remains in question, according to the J D Power and Associates 2011 US Heavy-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study released recently.
The study finds that quality of one-model-year-old Class 8 trucks has improved by 29 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2011 versus 2010. Among trucks in service between 13 and 18 months, problems have decreased by 23% during the past six years, declining to an average of 198 problems per 100 trucks in 2011 from an average of 257 PP100 in 2006. Lower PP100 scores indicate a lower rate of problem incidences—and therefore higher quality.
Brent Gruber, senior manager of the commercial vehicle practice at J D Power, said the US trucking industry is experiencing a significant sales recovery, led by replacement of aging trucks and buoyed by an improving economy, rising used-truck prices, and increases in export shipments. As a result, the higher demand presents some challenges for both manufacturers and suppliers in maintaining existing quality levels, particularly as the increased build rates are coinciding with the release of new 2010 EPA emission engines.
Historically, customer satisfaction with heavy-duty trucks has declined immediately after introduction of engines that meet revised EPA regulations. In 2010 and 2006, both heavy-duty truck and engine satisfaction fell immediately following the implementation and sale of engines meeting EPA regulations that were revised in 2007 and 2004, respectively.
The study measures the satisfaction of primary maintainers of one-model-year-old Class 8 heavy-duty trucks in three product segments: pickup and delivery, vocational, and over-the-road. In each segment, satisfaction is determined by examining six key factors: engine; transmission; ride/handling/braking; cab/body; cost of operation; and warranty.
International ranks highest in heavy-duty truck customer satisfaction in the pickup and delivery segment, improving from 2010’s second spot. International performs well in all six factors. Kenworth follows International in the segment.
In the vocational truck segment, Peterbilt ranks highest and performs well in the engine and cost-of-operation factors. International follows Peterbilt in these rankings.
The study also measures satisfaction with service received from authorized truck dealer service departments by examining six factors: service delivery, service advisor, price, dealer facility, service quality, and service initiation.
Kenworth ranks highest in Class 8 customer satisfaction with dealer service and performs well in the service facility factor. After Kenworth in the rankings are Peterbilt and Freightliner, respectively.
The 2011 Heavy-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 1,651 primary maintainers of one-model-year-old Class 8 heavy-duty trucks. The study was fielded in April and May 2011.
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