LAS VEGAS. Just three weeks into 2018, Mack Trucks said the year is off to a strong start.
Jonathan Randall, senior vice president for North American sales, said positive signals on housing starts and construction spending should translate into higher truck sales. He spoke at a press conference during the World of Concrete show, where Mack displayed upgrades to its Granite model, the most popular heavy-duty conventional straight truck in the United States.
Mack is projecting North American Class 8 retail sales totaling 260,000 in 2018, a figure Randall said faces “significant upward pressure.” He added Mack is scheduled to begin full production of its Anthem highway tractor next week, as well as the updated interior for the Pinnacle and Granite models.
The all-new interior features the industry’s first flat-bottom steering wheel, new gauge cluster and dash layout, and ergonomic seats developed in partnerships with Sears.
Roy Horton, director of product strategy, said Mack's mDrive had become the top transmission choice among Granite customers. About 50% of Granite orders include the mDrive, up from 5% in 2015.
Tim Wrinkle, Mack’s construction project manager, highlighted the additional lighting that has been added to the doors of the Granite, which assists drivers more safely maneuver in the dark.
“A whole lot of work is done before the sun comes up,” he said.
The company displayed the recently launched Mack Trucks Configurator was on displayed at the company’s booth at World of Concrete. The online tool enables customers to build and customize Granite models to determine the best specifications for their needs.
Once the entire vehicle is configured, customers can send the information to a local dealer for quoting.
Mack also introduced new split-shaft functionality for its mDRIVE HD automated manual transmission. Wrinkle said it gives customers with high-demand power take off (PTO) needs a fully integrated solution.
Split-shaft PTOs are mounted in the middle of the driveline to receive output directly from the transmission, supplying more torque for equipment such as large concrete pumps.
While the split-shaft PTO is engaged, power to the axles is disconnected.
Additionally, Mack announced a new loyalty reward program for National Ready Mixed Concrete Association members who purchase Mack Granite models by June 30. Finally, the company said it donated a 2018 Granite axle back model to support the Concrete Industry Management auction.