September 14, 2017 8:00 AM, EDT

Mack Launches New Highway Tractor, the Anthem

Mack's new Anthem Mack Trucks showed off the new Anthem at an Allentown, Pa., event. (Joe Howard/Transport Topics)

ALLENTOWN, Pa — Mack Trucks introduced the Mack Anthem, its new highway tractor, amid promises of greater gains in fuel efficiency, driver comfort and technological innovation.

“Everything about the new Mack Anthem — from the outside in, and the inside out — is built for business and designed for drivers,” John Walsh, the truck maker’s vice president of global marketing and brand management, said during the event, held here in a packed PPL Arena.

Walsh was among Mack executives who addressed dealer representatives while also thanking them for their patience.

The Anthem cab will offer three variations: a day cab, a 48-inch flat-top sleeper and a 70-inch stand-up sleeper. All of them will be available with a roof fairing. The 70-inch model offers a 35% gain in interior volume versus previous models and allows room for drivers more than 6 feet tall to stand straight up behind the front seat, Walsh said.

Aerodynamic improvements on the 70-inch sleeper provide a 3% gain in fuel economy while the day cab’s new design offers a 1.5% fuel efficiency gain, Walsh said.

The Anthem features a new hood and grille and redesigned roof and chassis fairings, mirror covers, front bumper and air dam. All of the new truck’s exterior lighting features LED bulbs. The LED headlights are 66% brighter than current incandescent bulbs, Walsh said.

He added that the truck has a three-piece bumper so that pieces can be replaced separately if one is damaged.

Under that hood, Mack will offer its integrated powertrain options, including the 13-liter Mack MP8 engine, which produces up to 505 horsepower and 1,860 pound-feet of torque Mack’s 11-liter MP7 is also available, which specs of up to 425 horsepower and 1,560 pound-feet of torque. Mack’s 12-speed mDRIVE automated manual transmission is standard, and 13- and 14-speed variants are optional.

Cummins natural gas engines will be offered in the Anthem, but Mack will not offer Cummins diesels in the truck.

Inside, Anthem-exclusive seats developed by Sears Seating give a choice of 30 feature and function combinations. The dash display features analog and digital displays, and gauges on the instrument panel have been positioned higher for better driver visibility. The truck’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls and the automatic transmission’s shift pad have been relocated closer to the driver, Mack said.

The truck also has a new, flat-bottom steering wheel that features illuminated controls for cruise control, Bluetooth and the audio system. Behind the steering wheel, Mack’s Co-Pilot display has been updated with a new 5-inch, full-color screen for improved visibility and more intuitive navigation, the company said. The display has information that includes engine and oil temperatures, trip odometers, aftertreatment status and more.

The world is changing, and we are changing with it. Mobility will become even more important — the mobility of people, and the mobility of goods.

Volvo Group CEO Martin Lundstedt

A new, optional infotainment system features a featuring a 7-inch touchscreen display with access to Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, weather band radio and TomTom truck navigation. The display is also compatible with third-party backup camera systems, Mack said.

This emphasis on technology is indicative not only of where Mack is headed, but where the industry is headed, said Martin Lundstedt, CEO of Volvo Group, Mack’s Sweden-based parent company.

“The world is changing, and we are changing with it,” he said at the event. “Mobility will become even more important — the mobility of people, and the mobility of goods.” And while Lundstedt said Volvo’s leadership believes in the power of a global group, he also believes in empowering individual brands, including Mack, to set their own agendas.

“We believe in the independence, agility, innovation power of our different brands,” he said. “That is the way we as owners say to our brands that you are responsible for what you are doing — you are responsible for your customer’s satisfaction, for your growth, for your profitability. That is our main principle. That is creating entrepreneurship, creativity, passion.”

Mack Trucks President Dennis Slagle told the dealer representatives that this sense of purpose guided development of the Anthem.

“Whatever your view of the journey so far, I think you will agree that we have arrived at a significant milepost,” he said. “This isn’t just another business, or another product. We are passionate about our brand, and we are passionate about our future. The best days for Mack are yet to come.”