Mack said it is seeing a lot more buying activity from small and mediumsized fleets now Photo Sean KilcarrFleet Owner

Mack said it is seeing a lot more buying activity from small and medium-sized fleets now. (Photo: Sean Kilcarr/Fleet Owner)

Mack Trucks predicts stronger long-haul segment

OEM boosts its 2017 Class 8 sales forecast to 225,000 units, sees more truck buying from smaller and medium fleets.

ATLANTA. Hot on the heels of the unveiling of its new axle back Class 8 tractor, the Anthem, Mack Trucks is predicting a sales uptick in the long-haul market to stretch out for the next two years here at the inaugural North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) show.

“Orders are coming in and we’re quoting on a lot of business where we were previously not a strong consideration,” noted Jonathan Randall, senior vice president of sales for Mack Trucks. “It’s really the entire [fleet] segment, small to large, that’s returning to buy, though we are now

He explained that the long-haul segment is expected to rebound from this influx of buying activity. Typically, Randall said the long-haul segment makes up 48% to 50% of overall commercial truck sales, but year-to-date that’s dropped to 41%.

“The [truck sales] growth of late has been in construction, regional haul, and some ‘micro-segments’ like refuse,” he noted. “But now we see long-haul returning to its rightful place in terms of sales share over the next couple of years.”

Randall added that Mack’s share of the commercial sales market is “up a percentage” point in the U.S. and now sits at 8.6% for the U.S. and Canada year-to-date. He said Mack did experience some “slippage” in Canadian market share at the beginning of this year but expects that to return to 2016 levels by the end of 2017. “We’ve got a strong backlog of orders,” Randall pointed out.

In order to handle a long-expected higher volume of truck orders, Mack has been investing in its production capacity over the last five years, according to John Walsh, vice president of global marketing.

He said the OEM has invested $40 million since 2012 in mDrive automated manual transmission (AMT) and axle production, along with training investments.

Roy Horton, Mack’s director of product strategy, added that the mDrive is now being spec’d in 88% of Mack’s on-highway truck orders.

Walsh went on to note that the OEM also has invested $84 million in its Lehigh Valley Operations in Pennsylvania since 2014, which includes new processes and tooling for its assembly plant.

“We’re confident we can meet market demand,” Randall added. “Our investments will allow us to do that through one plant.”

A few other items highlighted during Mack’s press conference included:

  • Mack’s dealers have invested over $600 million in their facilities since 2010, expanding service bay capacity by 53%, their truck technician workforce by 91%, and overall “rooftop” locations by 7% over that time period.
  • Mack’s new Anthem tractor is a replacement for the Pinnacle axle-back highway tractor; the Pinnacle axle-forward model remains as it is popular in the heavy haul, oil field, and other vocational markets, noted Randall.
  • Mack continues to analyze truck market demand, especially when it comes to growth in the last-mile logistics sector. “We look at that in terms of demand for daycabs with a single axle,” he said. “We don’t have a Class 6-7 truck but we’re always looking at that.”
  • Autonomous truck technology is something Mack will approach if there is “market value” to it, Randall pointed out: “If it has viability, we’ll certainly bring it to market.”

 

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