Hino ranks highest in medium-duty truck customer satisfaction for third consecutive year
Nov 1, 2012 12:00 PM
THE LATEST J D Power and Associates 2012 US Medium-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study ranked Hino Trucks as best in the category. The study also looked at overall customer impressions of the sort of medium-duty trucks that are used in operations such as fuel distribution.
Although reported fuel economy and quality improved for medium-duty trucks, the impact on satisfaction with new engines meeting the 2010 EPA emission regulations was negligible even as fuel prices rise, according to the J D Power and Associates 2012 US Medium-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study recently released.
The study found that reported fuel economy for medium-duty trucks increased 12% in 2012, compared with 2011. In addition, problems per 100 trucks (PP100) improved to 123 PP100 this year from 141 PP100 in 2011. Even with these positive improvements, customer satisfaction with medium-duty trucks remains flat at 757 (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2012, unchanged from 2011.
“Even with advances in fuel economy and quality, the cost to manage truck fleets continues to increase, negatively impacting satisfaction,” says Brent Gruber, director of the commercial vehicle practice at J D Power and Associates. “Higher fuel and truck prices have impacted satisfaction, pushing principal maintainers to look at other cost-savings options. However, they have concerns regarding new alternative fuel technology.”
Approximately half of fleet maintainers are familiar with the most popular alternative-power drivetrains, but concerns with expected quality/reliability, availability of fuel/fueling stations, and engine performance/acceleration are the primary reasons they will not consider purchasing trucks with these technologies. Among all electric, hybrid, natural gas, and propane autogas powertrain options available, the top reasons for purchase consideration are emissions/environmental impact and future cost savings. However — depending on the specific powertrain technology — just 3% to 6% of fleet maintainers say they “definitely will” consider purchasing such a truck.
“While fleet maintainers realize the potential long-term cost benefits of alternative fuel powertrains, reliability and fueling infrastructure are reasons for concern, resulting in much of the industry waiting to see the technology prove itself before making the investment,” Gruber says. “In order for trucks with alternative powertrains to gain widespread market acceptance, truck manufacturers and energy providers will need to assure customers that they will not be sacrificing durability, payload capacity, or ease of fueling with these new technologies.”
The 2012 study measured customer perceptions of 2011 model-year Classes 5, 6, and 7 commercial trucks. Within the product index, six factors were used to determine overall satisfaction: engine, warranty, cost of operation, cab and body, ride/handling/braking, and transmission. The study also measured satisfaction with services received from an authorized truck dealer. Six factors comprise the service index: service facility, service quality, service advisor, service initiation, service delivery, and service price. This was the 20th year for the study.
The study also found that Class 5 trucks continue to have the highest quality levels in 2012, averaging 86 PP100. In comparison, Class 6 trucks averaged 151 PP100 and Class 7 trucks averaged 141 PP100.
With a score of 820, Hino Trucks ranked highest in customer satisfaction within the conventional truck segment for a third consecutive year. Hino performed well across all factors: driving satisfaction, warranty, cost of operation, cab and body, and ride/handling/braking.
In its first year of inclusion in the study, Dodge (RAM) ranked second with a score of 806. Dodge (RAM) performed well in all factors, particularly in engine and cab and body. Freightliner (768) followed in the rankings.
Ford ranked highest in customer satisfaction with dealer service with a score of 827, performing particularly well in the service facility and service quality factors. Freightliner followed in the rankings with 807 points.
The 2012 US Medium-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study was based on responses from 1,272 primary maintainers of 2011 model-year Class 5, 6, and 7 conventional cab medium-duty trucks. The study was fielded between June and July 2012.
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