J.D. Power Says Class 8 Satisfaction Increased

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2004 Heavy-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study underscored Class 8 truck owners are reporting an increase in brand loyalty for the first time in five years.

According to the survey, 43% of respondents said they would definitely purchase the same brand of Class 8 truck in the next replacement cycle— an increase from 39% in 2003. Although this does indicate OEMs are taking a step in the right direction in customer satisfaction, there is still a gap yet to be bridged from the 50%+ ratings reported in the late 1990s.

“The decrease of 10% in repurchase intention from the 1990s may not look like much, but when you’re talking about lost sales, it’s a disturbing downward trend,” said Jen Loukes, director of the transportation industry practice at J.D. Powers and Associates. “Overall product satisfaction scores followed the same slight downward trend over time, which helps to explain lower rates of repurchase intention and brand loyalty. However, the 2004 overall results show improvement, which is good news for the industry.”

Kenworth ranks highest in customer satisfaction among vocational trucks, performing particularly well in quality, exterior and interior factors. The Kenworth T800 carried the OEM to the top spot, receiving strong scores across the board and particularly for the ride/handling/braking and exterior factors.

International ranks highest in dealer service, after the OEM improved in nearly all categories. International is strong in “people” factors— dealer attitude, service initiation and service advisor. International dethroned Peterbilt for that top spot, but only by three index points.

“International has a reputation for dealer service, ranking highest in dealer satisfaction in the firm’s Medium-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study for four of the past seven years,” said Loukes.

Due to restrictions on Class 8 truck registrations available in 2004, J.D. Power was unable to issue rankings for the over-the-road and pickup and delivery segments of the market.

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