Overall customer satisfaction with heavy-duty trucks has declined from 2004, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2005 Heavy-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Survey. Trucks have scored lower on each of the six factors that determine satisfaction, particularly “quality” and “engine.”
The 2,429 primary maintainers of two-year-old Class 8 trucks who responded to the survey noted nearly twice as many days of downtime. The average reported fuel economy dropped below six miles per gallon for the first time in the study’s 10-year history.
“As operating costs, including diesel fuel prices, continue to rise, truck owners grow more sensitive to areas such as fuel economy and truck downtime,” said Brian Etchells, J.D. Power senior research manager in the commercial vehicle group. “Any additional day of truck downtime or a slight drop in fuel economy can have a big effect on a fleet’s bottom line. Manufacturers should be particularly aware of customer expectations to promote high satisfaction levels.”
The study focuses on smaller fleets and owner-operators with an average fleet size of 53 trucks at a single location, J.D. Power noted.
Last year, J.D. Power reported an increase in Class 8 truck satisfaction.
Kenworth comes close to a sweep
According to the J.D. Power study, Kenworth ranked the highest in satisfaction for three segments: over-the-road, pickup & delivery, and dealer service, while Volvo ranked highest for the vocational segment.
In the over-the-road segment, Kenworth excelled in quality, engine, and sleeper scores. In the pickup & delivery segment, Kenworth received top scores in all six factors that driver customer satisfaction. In dealer service, the OEM received “particularly high” ratings in six of seven factors: dealer attitude, dealer facility, service delivery, service initiation, service advisor and price.
“Kenworth is very proud and honored to receive three 2005 Class 8 awards by J.D. Power and Associates,” said Bob Christensen, Kenworth gm & Paccar vp. “Kenworth employees and dealers take tremendous pride in providing the world’s best products and share in this significant achievement.”
“Dealers who go the extra mile to provide exceptional service can not only lessen the negative impact a breakdown has on satisfaction, but also increase loyalty by strengthening the relationship with the customer,” noted J.D. Power’s Etchells.
Peterbilt closely followed Kenworth in dealer service because of service quality and service advisor factors, according to J.D. Power.
Volvo Trucks of North America ranked highest in customer satisfaction in the vocational segment, leading in quality, ride/handling/braking and interior, said J.D. Power.