Volvo closing Mack plant, vows to keep brands separate

In the first major consolidation move since its acquisition of Mack Trucks and Renault V.I., Volvo Global Trucks has announced that it will close the Mack Winnesboro, SC, plant within the next 15 months. The plant produces Mack's Vision and CH on-highway vehicles. However, Volvo Global Trucks president and CEO Tryggve Sthen says the company will continue building and selling separate Volvo and Mack

In the first major consolidation move since its acquisition of Mack Trucks and Renault V.I., Volvo Global Trucks has announced that it will close the Mack Winnesboro, SC, plant within the next 15 months. The plant produces Mack's Vision and CH on-highway vehicles.

However, Volvo Global Trucks president and CEO Tryggve Sthen says the company will continue building and selling separate Volvo and Mack products in North America, competing in both the longhaul and vocational markets. Renault will also remain as a separate brand with its own distribution network in Europe and other markets, Sthen says.

Winnesboro production will move to the Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA) plant in New River Valley, VA, while Mack's original Macungie, PA, facility will continue producing vocational trucks, according to the company.

The company also announced that it will consolidate some support functions to eliminate duplication between VTNA and Mack, but would continue to maintain separate headquarters and management teams for the two brands.

Speaking just prior to the Winnesboro announcement, Sthen said the three-brand strategy is central to Volvo plans because customers perceive strong, separate identities for each. Mack trucks are valued for their toughness, while Volvo customers recognize that nameplate for safety, uptime and driver appeal, he said in an interview in Southampton, England. Renault's strength is its reputation for customer service.

While refusing to discuss specific product plans for the future, Sthen said Volvo would begin manufacturing its diesel engines in North America “soon.” By the end of the year, VTNA expects that 40% of its trucks will be powered by Volvo diesels, which are currently imported from Europe. Mack currently produces its own engine. No matter where Volvo establishes its new engine operations, “Mack customers expect to see Mack engines in Mack trucks and they will,” he added.

Speaking only in general terms about the company's plans for North America, Sthen said extending service and support offerings for both brands will play an important role in the future, including non-traditional offerings such as telematics and route optimization services.

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