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September 23, 2020 11:30 AM, EDT

Mack Touts Versatility of New Medium-Duty Models in Crowded Market

Mack MD Mack MD Series by Mack Trucks

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Mack is emphasizing its Class 8 experience with various applications as full production is underway for two new medium-duty models designed for various segments in that highly competitive market.

The truck maker began production of the Classes 6-7 trucks at its new Roanoke Valley, Va., plant Sept. 1 after being set back two months by the novel coronavirus pandemic, company executives said during a virtual kickoff event Sept. 16. But Mack said production goals remain on track for 2020 and 2021.

“As you look at our Class 8 [product], more than half of what we sell [has] a body on it before it goes to the customer,” said Jonathan Randall, Mack Trucks senior vice president of North American sales and commercial operations. “So we are just really, really good, best in class, at that and being able to identify opportunities for improvement, efficiencies, and then also find where there are issues and fix them.”

Mack’s MD 6 and MD7 models are intended for dry van/refrigerated, stake/flatbed, dump and tank truck applications, according to the Greensboro, N.C.-based unit of Volvo Group.

“When you consider the value proposition of Mack, it is more than just the truck. It’s our application excellence. It’s our body builder knowledge, our integration capabilities in working with bodies,” Randall said. “We were really conscientious to make sure we had clear back-of-cab and clean frame rails to be able to address the myriad bodies that were going to go on this. So with the 103-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab, and the overall length, there is no hindrance in getting what you need on there.”

Mack is targeting the crowded Class 6 market, where three other brands currently command.

WardsAuto.com reported Class 6 sales for the first eight months of 2020 totaled 53,940. Ford Motor Co. had 15,892. International, a brand of Navistar Inc., had 15,408. Freightliner, a unit of Daimler Trucks North America, notched 13,812. Models from four other truck makers vied for the rest of the sales.

Class 7 sales for the first eight months hit 43,508. Freightliner dominated with 18,433. International was next with 13,119. The remaining sales were spread among three companies.

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“We put in unique selling points throughout the MD6 and MD7 to help differentiate Mack and help us stand out in this market,” said Roy Horton, who is involved in special projects at Mack. “The headlights and LED marker lights, the strength of our [frame] rails, the cab air suspension being standard, and carrying over a lot of heavy-duty features from our Class 8 product line.”

Mack, which turned 120 this year, has 400 dealer facilities ready to handle the service on the new trucks, which come with the Cummins B6.7 liter engine. Cummins describes it as its most popular diesel engine ever and now in its fourth decade. Also included is an Allison 2500HS on-highway automatic transmission, plus an option for an Allison 2500RDS transmission designed for off-road applications.

Other types of engines or transmissions are not being offered at this time.

The truck maker announced Jan. 30 it invested $13 million to establish the Roanoke Valley plant. The investment included equipment, tooling and enhancements in the 280,000-square-foot facility dedicated to producing the trucks. The project will result in the creation of 250 jobs, which will be filled by the end of February 2021.

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