Study projects fewer
future truck sales
Aug 16, 2008 6:53 AM
In the face of an industry-wide sales slump, the percentage of heavy-duty truck owners who say they definitely will purchase or lease a new truck in the next 12 months has reached the lowest level since the 2002 J D Power and Associates study, according to Power and Associates information.
The study, which began tracking heavy-duty customer purchase intent in 2002, finds that 25 percent of Class 8 truck owners indicate that they will definitely purchase or lease a new truck in the next year—down from 41 percent in 2006.
Heavy-duty truck sales in 2008 have decreased considerably compared with 2006, when sales were at historically high levels. While 63 percent of owners in 2006 intended to add trucks to increase the size of their fleet inventory, only 54 percent say they plan to do the same in 2008.
Sales spiked in 2006 as owners purchased trucks prior to the implementation of 2007 emission standards, and another pre-buy may occur prior to a new round of emission standards slated for 2010.
“The low rate of purchase intent among truck owners suggests that industry-wide sales may not experience a quick rebound,” said Brian Etchells, senior research manager of the commercial vehicles practice, Power and Associates. “Many factors—in addition to the pre-buy and new emission technology—could be playing a role in the current sales slump. With the poor economic climate and rising fuel costs, both owner operators and fleets are struggling to stay profitable. Thus, it has never been more important for manufacturers to provide trucks that experience little to no downtime, have low maintenance and ownership costs and provide the performance that drivers demand.”
The study measures the satisfaction of primary maintainers of two-year-old Class 8 heavy-duty trucks in two product segments: over-the-road and vocational. In both segments, customer satisfaction is determined by examining four key factors: performance, quality, warranty and cost of ownership. The study focuses on smaller fleets and owner operators with an average fleet size of 53 trucks at a single location.
In 2008, Kenworth ranks highest in heavy-duty truck customer satisfaction in the over-the-road segment for a fourth consecutive year and the vocational truck segment for a second consecutive year. In both segments, Kenworth performs particularly well in performance, quality and cost of ownership. Western Star closely follows Kenworth in the vocational truck rankings, while Freightliner improves considerably in the over-the-road segment to rank second.
The study also measures satisfaction with services received from authorized truck dealer service departments by examining seven factors: dealer attitude; dealer facility; service delivery; service quality; service initiation; service advisor; and price.
Mack Trucks ranks highest in customer satisfaction with dealer service, performing particularly well in the service initiation, service delivery and service advisor factors. Kenworth and Sterling, respectively, follow in the dealer service rankings.
“Mack Trucks demonstrates considerable improvement in each of the six factors measured in the service index,” said Etchells. “The manufacturer’s dealerships have improved in both the technical aspects of service—such as fixing trucks correctly the first time and reducing the amount of time spent completing repairs—as well as in customer care elements—such as being courteous and friendly to customers and treating them well when they call.”
The 2008 Heavy Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 2,692 primary maintainers of two-year-old Class 8 heavy-duty trucks. The study was fielded in April and May 2008.
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
Acceptable Use Policy blog comments powered by Disqus