Photo: Jack Roberts

Photo: Jack Roberts

ATLANTA — Fresh off the launch of its new Anthem highway tractor, Mack Trucks held an upbeat press conference kicking off day two of the North American Commerical Vehicle Show (NACV) in Atlanta with an overview of the year to date and hints as to the company’s future objectives.

Jonathan Randall, senior vice president, sales for Mack, began by noting that the North American truck market has stabilized in the past couple of months to the point that the company is upgrading its Class 8 sales forecast. Initially, Randall said, Mack was predicting Class 8 sales of around 215,000 units by year’s end. Now, he feels 225,000 is possible, with even higher sales likely.

Overall, Randall said, times are good for Mack with strong construction and vocational marketshare numbers holding steady along with a firm mid-20% marketshare for straight trucks. The company continues to invest heavily in the future, as well, Randall said, with approximately $84 million spent on new products and upgrades, while Mack dealers have invested over $600 million in new and upgraded facilities.

Mack marketing manager John Walsh added that the company has a long, proud, history in the North American long-haul market segment, and is looking to reclaim some of that glory with the new Anthem tractor launched last week at the company’s home in Macungie, Penn.

Roy Horton, director of product strategy for Mack, spoke about the company’s focus on improving fuel efficiency, driver recruitment, and uptime for its customers today. He noted that the last round of aerodynamic upgrades boosted fuel economy by up to 3%. When combined with a Mack MP8 diesel engine and integrated Econodyne powertrain, fuel economy numbers rise 8% compared to previous Mack models. Horton said the Mack mDrive automated manual transmission was a big enabler for that boost in fuel efficiency, with 88% of new, on-highway models spec’d with the units.

David Pardue, vice president of connected vehicles and uptime services for Mack wrapped up the press briefing by announcing that the company is still on track to release over-the-air (OTA) powertrain updates for 2018 Mack trucks equipped with 2017 Greenhouse Gas Phase 2 engines by year’s end.