J.D. Power finds Class 8 satisfaction drops after nine months

Customer satisfaction with 2009 Class 8 trucks peaks in the first nine months of service, “then declines notably,” according to the new “U.S. Heavy-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study” released yesterday by J.D. Power and Assocs

Customer satisfaction with 2009 Class 8 trucks peaks in the first nine months of service, “then declines notably,” according to the new “U.S. Heavy-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study” released yesterday by J.D. Power and Assocs.

Releasing rankings for just two categories this year – vocational trucks and dealer service – the company named International the winner in both. Freightliner and Kenworth followed in the vocational truck ranking, placing above the segment average for customer satisfaction. Freightliner placed second in the dealer service segment, ,again besting the study average, according to J.D. Power.

Surveying owners of new Class 8 trucks after one year of service, J.D. Power found that on average satisfaction hit a high of 768 on a 1000-point scale at nine months, then dropping by 20 points between 10 and 14 months of ownership. Beyond 14 months, the average satisfaction score fell an additional 25 points, the company reported.

“Many of the quality issues with heavy-duty trucks begin to appear after the 50,000-mile mark, which typically occurs around nine months of ownership, and more problems equate to lower satisfaction,” said Todd Markusic, senior director of the commercial vehicle practice at J.D. Power. “Unfortunately, the change in quality can be fairly dramatic, given the number of problems truck owners experience increases by roughly 70 percent on average after 50,000 miles.”

Vocational truck winner International scored 775 on the 1000-point satisfaction scale, “performing particularly well in the engine, cab and body, and transmission factors,” according to J.D. Power. Freightliner scored 760 and Kenworth 753, while the industry average for a year-old truck was 735.

In the dealer service customer satisfaction ranking, International led the category with a score of 844, showing high scores in all six factors measured – service delivery, service advisor, price, dealer facility, service quality, and service initiation. Freightliner’s score in that segment was 816 and the industry averaged 807.

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