KW tops J.D. Power truck ratings

This year’s J.D. Power and Assocs. (link to www.jdpower.com) satisfaction study for heavy-duty truck customers ranked Kenworth highest in all three categories surveyed

This year’s J.D. Power and Assocs. (www.jdpower.com) satisfaction study for heavy-duty truck customers ranked Kenworth highest in all three categories surveyed – over-the-road, pickup-and-delivery and vocational trucks. Sterling Trucks ranked highest for dealer service satisfaction.

The study, now in its 12th year, focused on small fleets with an average fleet size of 47 trucks and owner-operators, soliciting responses from 2,677 “primary maintainers” of two-yr.-old Class 8 trucks. In each of the three truck categories, it measured satisfaction with performance, quality, warranty and cost of ownership.

While this year’s study showed an overall improvement in heavy-duty vehicle quality over 2006, the total number of problems reported by users still exceeded 2005 levels. “In 2006, we saw a significant increase in engine problems that coincided with the introduction of new engine emission technology in 2004 model-year trucks,” said Brian Etchells, sr. research manager for J.D. Power’s commercial vehicle group. “With these engines becoming more prevalent in 2005 model-yr. trucks, the number of customers who report engine-related problems and downtime continues to climb in 2007.”

It was the third straight year that Kenworth topped the customer satisfaction poll for OTR and P&D trucks, according to J.D. Power. In all three truck categories, the brand placed first in the performance, quality and cost of ownership rankings, the company said.

Sterling’s first-place ranking in dealer service was the result of a large increase from last year’s customer satisfaction study and represented particularly high marks for its dealer facilities, according to J.D. Power. The 2007 study found that 83% of those polled said work was done right the first time at all heavy-duty dealerships. The report also showed only a small margin separating first-place Sterling from Kenworth and International in the dealer satisfaction rankings.

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