This year's J.D. Power and Associates satisfaction study for heavy-duty truck customers ranked Kenworth highest in all three categories: over-the road, pickup & 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 size of 47 trucks, and owner-operators, soliciting responses from 2,677 “primary maintainers” of two-year-old Class 8 trucks.
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-year trucks, the number of customers who report engine-related problems and downtime continues to climb in 2007.”
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.