As manufacturers of heavy-duty truck engines implement new emission technologies to meet tougher emission standards, customers are increasingly experiencing problems with their engines, according to the 10th annual JD Power and Associates 2006 Heavy-Duty Truck Engine/Transmission Study.
The study measures customer satisfaction with the engines in two-year-old heavy-duty trucks (Class 8) by examining four factors. By order of importance, these are: engine quality (30%); engine performance (26%); engine cost of ownership (22%); and engine warranty (22%). The study examines engines supplied in 2004 model-year trucks, the second model year impacted by the Consent Decree that raised diesel engine emission standards.
To meet emission regulations, manufacturers are redesigning engines and employing new technologies reduce emissions. The average number of reported engine problems in the 2006 study has increased to 74 PP100 (engine problems per 100 vehicles)—up from 46 PP100 in 2005.
In the 2005 study, there was a greater mix of manufacturers using old- and new-technology engines, so we’re just now starting to see the overall impact of the emission regulations. Whenever a new technology is employed, it takes a while to work the bugs out. As time goes on and engines are better equipped and designed to follow the emission standards, the number of problems should gradually decline.—Brian Etchells, Senior Research Manager, JD Power and Associates
The study also finds that among the four drivers of engine satisfaction, customers are least satisfied with the cost of ownership, particularly in the areas of routine engine maintenance costs and fuel efficiency. Reported fuel efficiency for heavy-duty engines has declined to 5.72 mpg in 2006—down from 5.91 mpg in 2005 and 6.04 mpg in 2004.
The 2006 Heavy-Duty Truck Engine/Transmission Study is based on the responses of 2,529 primary maintainers of two-year-old heavy-duty trucks (Class 8).