A Mack Anthem on a western highway .  Photo:Mack Trucks

A Mack Anthem on a western highway. Photo:Mack Trucks

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA. Mack Trucks has thrown down a gauntlet, declaring it is now “well positioned” with products and services to command a bigger slice of the Class 8 pie in the Western United States. 

“We’re rebuilding our Western presence,” said Jonathan Randall, senior vice president of North American Sales, at a media briefing held here at the headquarters of the Oakland Raiders ahead of the football team’s Dec. 3 trouncing of the New York Giants. 

Noting that despite Mack’s deep Back East roots the company has offered models suitable for Western truck operators since 1948, he said the key to the strategy is unleashing its latest models on customers in the West who have not yet experienced what’s new at Mack. 

According to Randall, Mack stands out because of its application-specific approach to the Class 8 highway and vocational markets. In terms of appealing to Western customers, he said Mack has developed the “lightweight but high-power models needed to face the high altitudes, long grades, and demanding desert temperatures of western operations. 

“We’re continuing our western tradition of application excellence with the all-new Mack Anthem,” he said, “but we also have products and developed specifically for each customer’s unique needs in the highway, construction, and refuse markets.” 

Randall said that in the West, truck fleets seek “performance and efficiency to handle the terrain” and said Mack is providing that with trucks engineered to by “heavy on power, light on fuel” thanks to the OEM’s Super Econodyne downspeeding and turbo compounding offerings. 

He added that Mack is also well-positioned to meet the needs of weight-conscious customers in the West through its Mack MP7 11-liter engine, 6x2 liftable pusher axle, and lightweight axle options. 

Randall said that right now Mack holds a 5% share in the Western market and “we want to get that to equal our national share level.” 

Turning to the overall market, Randall said that as 2017 rolls into 2018, trucking is on “solid footing” and the industry is “closing in on a North American Class 8 market of 235,000 trucks. And that’s with upward pressure as we’re seeing a continued positive order intake.” 

He pointed out that U.S. economy keeps showing steady growth as indicated by a strong start for holiday spending, a stable construction segment, and increasing manufacturing levels. 

Randall said adding all those positives up amounts to “improving freight volumes and rates that point to long-haul growth.” He noted that Mack sees the construction market “remaining fairly flat” into next year, perhaps accounting for 16% of the total market.” 

As for what that means for 2018 truck sales, Randall said at this point he’s “anticipating a North American Class 8 market of 260,000 trucks, driven by growth within both the long haul and regional haul segments.” 

In the face of this rising market, Randall said Mack aims “to maintain our momentum.” He noted that the new Anthem over-the-road tractor will enter full production in the first quarter of next year and said that, based on year-to-date 2017 retail sales, Mack now commands an 8.2% share of the U.S./Canada Class market -- and its Granite vocational model is the number-one selling construction truck in the U.S. year to date. 

Mack executives also announced that the OEM and Petty’s Garage, the high-performance speed shop founded in 2008 by NASCAR legend Richard Petty, have signed a partnership deal naming Mack the official transportation sponsor for Petty’s Garage. 

Under the agreement, Petty’s Garage, headquartered in Level Cross, North Carolina, received a 2018 Mack Pinnacle Axle Back model equipped with an MP8-445C engine to transport cars to public events through its Performance Tour. The tour brings Petty’s Garage to the fans and auto enthusiasts at select events across the U.S. 

“Mack is pleased to partner with Petty’s Garage and to be named its official transportation sponsor,” said John Walsh, vice president of marketing and global brand. “Richard Petty is a NASCAR legend, so it is fitting that Mack, a legendary truck brand, would partner with the Garage. Both are committed to delivering superior performance to customers along with unmatched customer service, so we are enthusiastic about this new partnership.” 

Mack already is the “Official Hauler of NASCAR.” As part of that agreement, Walsh said the OEM provides a fleet of Mack Pinnacle sleeper models spec’d for the job of handling the grueling NASCAR race schedule.

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About the author
David Cullen

David Cullen

[Former] Business/Washington Contributing Editor

David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

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