TOKYO: 29 January 2016 — When it comes to heavy-duty trucks, vehicle quality and reliability have the greatest impact on customer satisfaction; however, manufacturing, sales and service must work together to foster long-term loyalty, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Japan Heavy-Duty Truck Ownership Satisfaction StudySM released today.
The annual study measures overall satisfaction with heavy-duty truck manufacturers and their respective authorized truck dealers among commercial fleet owners, including managers of truck freight companies. Satisfaction is determined by examining owners’ evaluations of 10 attributes grouped into four factors (listed in order of importance): vehicle (44%); sales (22%); service (22%); and cost (12%). The study has been significantly redesigned for 2016; therefore, the results are not comparable to previous years. Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale.
Vehicle quality and reliability has the most influence on satisfying heavy-duty truck customers, as this attribute makes up 52% of the vehicle factor. In this regard, vehicle quality and reliability impacts brand loyalty. For example, among customers who indicate experiencing no (zero) problems for engine/ transmission, 20% say they “definitely would” purchase the same brand again. However, among customers who experience three or more problems, only 9% say they “definitely would” repurchase.
“One way to help long-term reliability is for truck manufacturers to offer vehicle maintenance contracts, as they have a positive impact on vehicle quality, customer satisfaction and retention,” said Yuji Sasaki, director of automotive division at J.D. Power Asia Pacific. “Currently, just 23% of heavy-duty truck owners have maintenance contracts. To improve this rate, manufacturers need to develop new maintenance service programs, strengthen sales activities and educate customers. Additionally, for maintenance contracts to be effective, manufacturers need to improve the conditions for performing high-quality maintenance.”
Overall Japan heavy-duty truck ownership satisfaction averages 562. Hino ranks highest for the seventh consecutive year, with a score of 584. Hino performs particularly well in the vehicle factor, outperforming other brands, as well as in the sales and service factors.
- Among truck owners without a maintenance contract, 38% experience engine/transmission problems with their vehicle one or more times, compared with 34% among those with a maintenance contract. Vehicle satisfaction averages 598 index points among owners with a maintenance contract, compared to 567 points among those without one, a 31-point gap.
- The truck salesperson plays a significant role in maintenance contract purchase rates. When the salesperson provides a detailed description of the warranty, the maintenance contract rate improves to 36%, but remains at just 15% when no description is provided. Negotiating a maintenance contract at the time of vehicle purchase is an excellent strategy for developing a positive long-term relationship with customers.
The 2016 Japan Heavy-Duty Truck Ownership Satisfaction Study is based on 4,268 responses from 2,665 truck owners. Each fleet owner evaluated up to two manufacturers. The mail survey was conducted in October 2015.
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J.D. Power has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Malaysia and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries in the Asia Pacific region. Together, the six offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Information regarding J.D. Power and its products can be accessed through the Internet at asean-oceania.jdpower.com.
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 The importance weights of the study factors were calculated from the combined data for heavy- and light-duty trucks. Both sets of data were collected during the same period of time.