Westlake Village, California – With manufacturers such as Chevrolet, GMC and Sterling announcing that they are leaving the medium-duty truck market, customers are largely undecided about the brand they will now buy, according to a new survey by J.D. Power and Associates.

Caterpillar has also announced that it will stop producing engines for the U.S. commercial vehicle market starting in 2010, when new emission regulations take effect.

The study found that 47 per cent of customers who have purchased or leased General Motors trucks are undecided about what brand they will purchase for their next truck. Some 36 per cent of Sterling customers are undecided, while 46 per cent of those who own trucks with Caterpillar engines are undecided about their next engine-based purchase.

“While the down economy and low sales levels in the commercial-vehicle market present considerable challenges to OEMs and their suppliers, this is also a time of opportunity,” said Brian Etchells, senior research manager for commercial vehicles. “Companies that position themselves well by building high-quality trucks and keeping their dealer body healthy stand to increase their market share as brands choose to or are forced to exit the marketplace.”

The study found that of those buyers who have decided on their next purchase, 28 per cent of Sterling customers will purchase or lease a Freightliner truck, while 34 per cent of Caterpillar customers say they will choose a Cummins engine. More than one-fifth of Chevrolet or GMC medium-duty truck owners plan to purchase or lease a Ford medium-duty truck in future.

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