For a second consecutive year, Kenworth ranks highest in heavy-duty truck customer satisfaction for over-the-road trucks, pickup and delivery trucks, and dealer service, while International Truck and Engine ranks highest in the
vocational truck segment, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006
Heavy-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study.
Now in its 11th year, the study includes responses from 2,529 primary
maintainers of two-year-old Class 8 heavy-duty trucks. The study focuses on
smaller fleets and owner/operators with an average fleet size of
approximately 61 trucks at a single location. The study also measures
satisfaction with services received from an authorized truck dealer's
Customer satisfaction for the three product segments is measured for
four factors: performance, quality, warranty and cost of ownership. In the
over-the-road segment, satisfaction with the vehicle's sleeper is also
Recent government mandates requiring heavy duty trucks to lower
emissions have had a negative impact on customer satisfaction as the number
of engine related problems continue to increase. Owners report their trucks
were down an average of 4.1 times in the past year -- up from 2.9 times in
2005. This also has had a negative financial impact on owner and operators
as the average down time problems reported rose significantly from an
average of 6.6 days in 2005 to 9.7 days in 2006, with much of that increase
attributed to engine- related problems.
The overall customer satisfaction levels have clearly been affected by
the decline in quality. Overall customer satisfaction for Class 8 trucks
averages 744 index points on a 1,000-point scale. Owners of vocational
Class 8 trucks report the highest satisfaction, while over-the-road
customers report the lowest satisfaction. Over-the-road owners also report
the most problems, with 310 problems per 100 (PP100) trucks. Pickup and
delivery truck owners report the fewest problems at 216 PP100, while
vocational truck owners report 225 PP100.
"Time is money in the trucking business, and when a truck is in for
service, it impacts the fleet's bottom line," says Brian Etchells, senior
research manager in the commercial vehicle group at J.D. Power and
Associates. "Performance and quality account for 65 percent of total
product satisfaction, so it's easy to see how problems quickly erode owner
Kenworth ranks highest in the over-the-road segment, receiving high
marks from customers in each of the five index factors. Kenworth also ranks
highest in the pickup and delivery segment, receiving the highest ratings
for all four factors.
International Truck and Engine ranks highest in customer satisfaction
in the vocational segment. International performs very well in quality and
for its warranty.
Kenworth ranks highest in dealer service, receiving very strong ratings
from customers in five of the six factors that drive overall service
satisfaction: dealer facility, service quality, service delivery, service
initiation, and service advisor. International Truck and Engine closely
follows Kenworth in the dealer service ranking, performing well above the
segment average on all six factors and outdistances all competitors on the
"More than three-fourths of Class 8 owners report taking their trucks
to the dealer for service within the first two years of ownership,"
Etchells said. "That provides dealers an excellent opportunity to have a
positive impact on their customers. A positive dealer service experience
not only enhances the relationship with the customer but also increases
Among the 78 percent of respondents who took their truck to a dealer
for service, 81 percent indicate that the work was done right the first
time. Among those whose vehicle was not fixed right the first time, it took
an average of two return visits was required to fix the problem.