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Diesel Truck Brand Loyalty - Direct Injection

Brand Loyalty: Good Or Bad?

We're all Chevy, Dodge, or Ford guys to some degree, even if we don't like to admit it. As a Diesel Power reader, it's also possible you're a Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit Diesel, International, or John Deere guy.

Typically, the manufacturers you align yourself with are based on what your father's favorite truck or engine is. Then you either side with your dad or you rebel against him and sign on with another team just to be different. I wish I could tell you one American manufacturer is the best, hands down, at everything, but the truth is each one does some things well, and each one has things it could do better. The best diesel truck is the one that does what you need it to, the way you want it done. Different customers have different needs, so there are different brands with different strengths and weaknesses. The bottom line: It comes down to what's best for you.

A Brand Is A PromiseBrand loyalty is all about expectations. If your grandfather and father drove GMC trucks and had great experiences with them, you're likely to be a GMC guy, too. It doesn't matter that you know Chevy trucks are nearly identical to their GMC brothers. You grew up seeing a GMC truck in the driveway, and you're hooked. You expect to have the same good experiences your dad and his dad had, and you believe that if you buy the same brand, you'll have the same success. That's the promise of brand loyalty.

Why It WorksTrucks-like people-tend to bear a family resemblance to their predecessors, so good and bad traits in trucks are carried over from model year to model year. It's called a manufacturer's DNA, and it's a result of common engineering, styling, manufacturing, and testing practices that Dodge, Ford, and General Motors have embedded in their very makeup. The result is that even as individual vehicles change over time, the process that creates the products often stays the same. We, the consumers, get vehicles that are the way they are because of the way they've been. When you're talking about trucks, that heritage can go back almost 100 years.

The UpsideWhen you stick with one brand, you learn how that manufacturer does things. You develop brand-specific repair techniques, you become buddies with the guys at the local dealership, and you make new friends who are into the same trucks you are. When you watch a motorsport event, you have a team to root for. You have spare parts in the garage. You become an expert on your brand. People respect your opinion, and you get to convince other people why your truck and engine are the best.

The DownsideYou tend to overlook the deficiencies in your vehicle too quickly. You may become blind to new innovations and technologies that the competition develops. You're not likely to consider different vehicles as your needs evolve. You don't get along with your neighbor, coworker, or father-in-law.

Where Are My Loyalties?That's easy-to Diesel Power. I've owned a Jeep, four Chevy Blazers, two Ford Broncos, a DodgeW-250, a Ford F-150, a 31/44-ton Chevy Silverado, and I'm in the market for a diesel-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee. I've driven every diesel-powered light truck for sale in the U.S. today, and I'm champing at the bit for the new wave of 11/42-ton diesel trucks. If I had to buy a diesel truck tomorrow, I'd get a Chevy Duramax pickup for a daily driver, a Ford Power Stroke F-550 for a work truck, and a Cummins-powered Dodge to hot rod.I'm brand loyal to anything with a diesel engine.-David Kennedydavid.kennedy@primedia.com

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