Kenworth ranks highest in Class 8 heavy duty truck US customer satisfaction with dealer service and performs particularly well in the service facility factor, scoring 816 out of 1,000 possible points, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Heavy-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study. Following Kenworth in the rankings are Peterbilt (800) and Freightliner (788), respectively.
In each segment, satisfaction is determined by examining six key factors: engine; transmission; ride/handling/braking; cab/body; cost of operation; and warranty. The study also measures satisfaction with service received from authorized truck dealer service departments by examining six factors: service delivery; service advisor; price; dealer facility; service quality; and service initiation. Industry average score for this segment is 792.
International Most Satisfies Pickup/Delivery Customers
Looking at satisfaction among heavy duty pickup/delivery truck customers, International leads the way with a score of 803. Kenworth also performs well in this segment, placing second with a score of 776 and being the only other brand to surpass the industry average score of 769.
Peterbilt Builds Strong Vocational Trucks
In the heavy duty vocational truck segment, Peterbilt earns the top customer satisfaction score of 796, with International following at 781. The two companies are the only heavy duty vocational truck brands to score higher than the industry average of 761 in this segment.
Overall Quality Improves Substantially
Study results indicate that overall quality of heavy duty trucks has improved substantially in 2011, compared with 2010. The study finds that quality of one-model-year-old Class 8 trucks has improved by 29 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2011, compared with 2010. Among trucks in service between 13 and 18 months, problems have decreased by 23 percent during the past six years, declining to an average of 198 problems per 100 trucks in 2011, from an average of 257 PP100 in 2006. Lower PP100 scores indicate a lower rate of problem incidences and therefore higher quality.
Maintaining Sales Recovery Could be Difficult
According to J.D. Power, the US trucking industry is experiencing a significant sales recovery, led by replacement of aging trucks and buoyed by an improving economy, rising used-truck prices, and increases in export shipments. However, as a result, the higher demand presents some challenges for both manufacturers and suppliers in maintaining existing quality levels, particularly as the increased build rates are coinciding with the release of new 2010 EPA emission engines. J.D. Power historical analysis shows customer satisfaction levels generally drop following the introduction of new emission regulations.
Initial Vehicle Quality Drops
After an improvement in the quality of newly launched vehicle models every year from 2007 to 2010, the initial quality of 2011 new model launches has declined considerably, according to the previously released J.D. Power and Associates 2011 US Initial Quality Study. The initial quality of launch models, those that are all-new or have had major redesigns, worsened by 10% to an average of 122 PP100 in 2011 from 111 PP100 in 2010.
About the Data: The 2011 Heavy-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 1,651 primary maintainers of one-model-year-old Class 8 heavy-duty trucks. The study was fielded by J.D. Power and Associates in April and May 2011 and is the source of the enclosed charts.