In their respective segments, Caterpillar and Cummins rank highest in satisfying customers with heavy-duty truck engines and transmissions, according to the J D Power and Associates 2007 Heavy-Duty Truck Engine/Transmission Study.
The study, now in its 11th year, measures customer satisfaction with engines in two-year-old heavy-duty trucks (Class 8) by examining four vital engine factors. They are (in order of importance): engine quality (30%), engine performance (26%), engine cost of ownership (22%), and engine warranty (22%).
Cummins ranks highest in customer satisfaction in the heavy engine vocational segment with an overall index score of 750 on a 1,000-point scale. The firm performs particularly well in the engine warranty, engine performance, and cost of ownership factors. Caterpillar closely follows in the segment with a score of 747, performing well in engine quality.
Caterpillar ranks highest in customer satisfaction in the heavy engine pick-up and delivery segment with an index score of 754, performing well across each of the four engine factors. Caterpillar performs well in the engine quality and engine performance factors.
The study also finds that heavy-duty truck maintainers are reporting fewer problems with their engines than they did in 2006 — although problem incidence remains much higher than with pre-emission regulation 2003 model-year trucks. Industrywide, the average number of reported engine problems is 59 PP100 (engine problems per 100 vehicles), down from an average of 70 PP100 in 2006, but still above the average of 46 PP100 reported before the new emission standards.
Several engine components show year-over-year quality improvements in the 2007 study. Two of the biggest improvements are for fuel injectors and turbochargers, which experienced large declines in quality in the 2006 study. Problem mentions for each of these components have declined by nearly 50 percent in 2007.
The most frequently cited engine problem for a second consecutive year is the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve, which accounts for 17 percent of all engine-related problems reported — a slight increase compared with the 2006 study.
The study finds customers are most satisfied with the performance of their engines, and least satisfied with the costs of ownership. In general, customers are dissatisfied with both the fuel economy of their heavy engines and with the cost of routine engine maintenance.