Kenworth, Volvo winners of J.D. Power and Associates survey

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WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Cal. — J.D. Power and Associates has announced the winners of its annual heavy-duty truck customer satisfaction survey for over-the-road, P&D and vocational trucks.

Kenworth took top honours in customer satisfaction for three segments: over-the-road, pickup and delivery and overall dealer service. Meanwhile, it was Volvo winning the vocational truck category, according to the 2005 Heavy-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study.

The study includes responses from 2,429 maintainers of two-year-old Class 8 heavy-duty trucks. The study focused on smaller fleets and owner/operators with an average fleet size of 53 trucks at a single location. It also took into account the level of satisfaction with services received from an authorized truck dealer’s service department.

Customer satisfaction in each segment was measured on: quality, exterior, engine, ride/handling/braking/, transmission and interior. For the over-the-road segment, the vehicle’s sleeper was also rated.

J.D. Power and Associate officials say overall customer satisfaction declined from 2004. Owners reported more downtime and worse fuel mileage than with previous model years.

“As operating costs, including diesel fuel prices, continue to rise, truck owners grow more sensitive to areas such as fuel economy and truck downtime,” says Brian Etchells, senior research manager in the commercial vehicle group at J.D. Power and Associates. “An additional day of truck downtime or a slight drop in fuel economy can have a big effect on a fleet’s bottom line. Manufacturers should be particularly aware of customer expectations to promote high satisfaction levels.”

In the dealer service category, Kenworth was followed closely by Peterbilt, which also received strong scores for service quality and service advisor.

“Dealers who go the extra mile to provide exceptional service can not only lessen the negative impact a breakdown has on satisfaction, but can also increase loyalty by strengthening the relationship with the customer,” Etchells said.

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