Mid-range demand fading; Hino ranks highest in survey

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — The number of commercial truck buyers intending to purchase or lease new medium-duty trucks within the next 12 months has reached its lowest level since 2002.

In its annual medium-duty satisfaction survey, J.D. Power & Associates found that, compared with the 2007 study, Class 6 and 7 owners in 2008 are much more likely to say they "probably will not" or "definitely will not" purchase or lease new trucks in the next year. In particular, the percentage of owners who say they do not intend to purchase or lease has increased notably among Class 6 owners.

"During these challenging economic times, many owners are planning to hold on to their trucks longer," said Brian Etchells, senior research manager in the commercial vehicle group at J.D. Power.

"These findings-coupled with similar levels of purchase intent among Class 8 customers found in the 2008 Heavy-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study-point to more lean times for the U.S. commercial vehicle industry in the short term."

The study also finds that the intent to purchase or lease a new truck among Class 5 owners increased slightly in 2008, with 21 percent of owners indicating they "definitely will" purchase or lease a new truck. Conversely, only 18 percent of owners in the 2007 study said the same.

Hino ranks No. 1 in medium-duty

The study, now in its 16th year, is based on responses from 1,525 primary maintainers of two-year-old conventional cab medium-duty trucks.

This year, Hino Trucks ranked highest in customer satisfaction among conventional cab medium-duty trucks in its second model year of producing the vehicles.

Within the conventional cab truck segment, four factors are measured to determine overall satisfaction: vehicle performance; quality; warranty; and cost of ownership.

The study also measures satisfaction with services received from authorized truck dealer service departments by examining six factors: dealer facility; service quality; service delivery; service initiation; service advisor; and price.

Hino improved notably from 2007 in each of the four factors and performed particularly well in the quality and warranty factors. Hino completely switched its model lineup from cabover to conventional-cab trucks starting with the 2005 model year.

Peterbilt closely follows Hino in the rankings, while Chevrolet, Freightliner, GMC Trucks, Sterling and Kenworth, respectively, also rank above the segment average.


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