Production of Mack Trucks’ all-new MD Series of medium-duty vehicles is now in full swing at the Roanoke Valley Operations (RVO) facility in the Roanoke Valley, Virginia. Production began officially Sept. 1 but was announced Sept. 22, the first day of fall. MD production was set to begin in July but was delayed by eight weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Mack Trucks is very proud of the dedication of the RVO team, who worked tirelessly to begin full production amidst the challenges of COVID-19," said Martin Weissburg, president of Mack Trucks.
Mack invested $13 million to establish RVO. The investment included equipment, tooling and enhancements to the 280,000 square feet of the facility dedicated to MD6 and MD7 trucks. About 250 jobs will have been created by February 2021 when fully staffed. The production workforce is non-union.
Jonathan Randall, Mack Trucks' senior vice president of North American sales and commercial operations, said there were several drivers behind the decision to re-enter the medium-duty space. It's seen as a solid, consistent performing market typically producing about 100,000 trucks a year for North America. He noted that both the customer base and the dealer network were hungry for a medium-duty product.
"Many of our Class 8 customers also run Class 7," he noted. "They were asking us for a single source solution. Also, our dealers are hankering and hungry to get into this business in a big way because they know we've got the footprint and the capability to service this market in a very good way."
Mack had to make a few adjustments to its original plan when the Covid-19 pandemic struck in April, but they haven't really affected the project save for the two-month delay.
"We had to hire about 85 people in order to get production underway, but we weren't sure at the time what that was going to look like. In fact, we weren't sure what local governments we going to allow us to do from a manufacturing standpoint," Randall said during an online press briefing.
Workers are following all U.S. Centers for Disease Control protocols, including mandatory mask usage, social distancing, and temperature checks as workers enter the plant.
"The plan we have in place will allow up to move forward with our production targets," said Antonio Servidoni, Mack vice president, medium-duty operations. "We are already building Mack MD Series trucks to the same high-quality standards as our heavy-duty product line."
The Mack MD Series is an all-new model range built specifically for medium-duty applications. With the introduction of the MD6, which has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 25,995 pounds, and the MD7, which has a GVWR of 33,000 pounds, Mack now offers a complete lineup of Class 6 to Class 8 vehicles. Both MD models are exempt from the 12% Federal Excise Tax (FET).
The MD6 and MD7 models meet the needs of medium-duty trucking applications requiring dry van/refrigerated, stake/flatbed, dump and tank truck vocations. The MD6 model does not require a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to operate for non-hazardous payloads. The Mack MD Series will be supported by Mack’s extensive dealer network.