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October 4, 2016 5:00 PM, EDT

Volvo, Mack Bemoan Current Sales Climate

Announce Vehicle, Service Improvements
Nyberg by John Sommers II for TT
LAS VEGAS — The two heavy-duty North American truck makers of Volvo Group continue to stoically gut out an unpleasant sales market but in anticipation of sunnier 2018 announced vehicle and service improvements for customers.

Executives with Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks said here Oct. 3 that this year’s market has been disappointing — albeit with a few bright spots.

“2016 has been a year of uncertainty,” VTNA President Göran Nyberg said. “We have been thrown some curves and don’t know what’s around the next corner.”

Mack Senior Vice President of Sales Jonathan Randall said the lean times will last “into and through next year before climbing out in 2018.”

Both men agreed that inventories of trucks, specifically, and many goods in general have remained stubbornly high. They also said sales of construction vehicles are doing well, but highway tractors are down significantly.

The two OEMs held press conferences at the Management Conference & Exhibition of American Trucking Associations.

Both said they have signed memorandums of understanding with Geotab Inc., so the Oakville, Ontario, technology firm can retrofit older trucks with connectivity options.

Recent Volvo trucks with in-house engines have remote diagnostics as standard equipment. The Mack telematics system is called GuardDog Connect.

“The partnership with Geotab offers customers not currently connected the ability to access data not previously available to them,” said Conal Deedy, director of connected services for Volvo.

“The easy accessibility of this information will enable customers to make informed decisions to enhance uptime, productivity, fuel efficiency, compliance and safety,” he added.

David Pardue, vice president of connected vehicles and uptime services, offered a similar statement on behalf of Mack.

Volvo also said it will offer the Bendix Wingman Fusion active safety system as an option on new VNL and VNM tractors, starting immediately.

The OEM will market the collision mitigation system under the name Volvo Active Driver Assist.

Wade Long, director of product marketing, said the system uses radar and cameras to detect road hazards made of metal. Wingman Fusion starts with audio, visual or vibration warnings and escalates to autonomous braking as needed.

It also provides lane-departure warning and saves data.

Mack also announced a new mobile application for its Asist Cloud-based tool.

The app allows customers to manage maintenance remotely. Asist is a management tool that keeps fleets, dealers and others connected during service and repair events.

The free app will feature a link to the Mack Uptime Center for quick repairs. The center, based in Greensboro, North Carolina, houses customer support personnel and connects them to fleets and dealers.