USING its World Sales Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, as a venue, Mack Trucks Inc unveiled a new range of vehicles designed to meet the demands of both highway and construction customers. However, the biggest news was the introduction of the company's first completely new engine family in 40 years.
Key elements of the new Mack product offering for 2006 include a new flagship for its highway lineup — a premium tractor called Pinnacle — as well as new models of the company's highly successful Granite and Granite Axle Back construction vehicles. Each new model offers state-of-the-art advancements in engine technology, driver environment, and electronics.
“This is truly the start of a new era for Mack,” said Paul Vikner, Mack president and chief executive officer. “The new products that we're debuting directly respond to our customers' requirements and represent the combining of our heritage of reliability and durability with the latest in breakthrough technology.”
The new Pinnacle highway truck is being offered in a 116-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) daycab configuration, as well as 48-inch and 56-inch flat-top, 60-inch and 70-inch mid-rise, and 70-inch high-rise sleepers — all built on Mack's Advantage highway chassis. Both the Granite and Granite axle-back models feature a 116-inch BBC dimension and are built on the Mack Cornerstone vocational chassis. Both of the new product lines have been designed around the new MackPower (MP) engine line.
“The new Pinnacle and Granite lineups capture the essence of Mack's commitment to customer-driven, balanced designs,” said Kevin Flaherty, Mack's senior vice-president of sales. “We offer advanced transportation solutions designed to maximize customer productivity and profitability.”
Key to the advantages of the new models are entirely new driver environments, created after comprehensive research of customer preferences and ergonomics — including definition of the optimum driving position for operators of Mack vehicles.
The new cab designs include:
A four-inch increase in the depth of daycabs, providing more leg and belly room while allowing for a seat angle recline of more than 20 degrees.
A wrap-around “cockpit style” dash, with a new primary gauge cluster and space for up to 25 switches. In the new layout, gauges have been located for optimal visibility, and all controls and switches are easy to reach. The standard driver information display has been designed for easy viewing day and night, thanks to the new CoolBlue backlighting. It is upgradable to CoPilot, a driver interactive expanded display.
A one-piece windshield for enhanced visibility. Visibility is also enhanced “rain or shine” by designing the wiper patterns to overlap for wet driving conditions, and by having the sun visors meet at the center of the windshield to eliminate glare. The one-piece windshield will be standard in the Pinnacle product starting in the second quarter of 2006.
A broadly adjustable steering column and new driver foot pedal controls — with all pedals suspended (versus floor-mounted) and on the same plane so that the driver's heel never has to leave the floor when switching between fuel and brake pedals.
Use of stainless steel fasteners, which convey a rugged, machined look while allowing for easy removal of dash panels. The new vehicles also feature Bulldog signature floor mats for superior fit and sound insulation, along with the availability of easy-to-install replacement inserts for heavy wear areas.
An all-new HVAC system with heavy-duty, easy-to-use controls and proven efficient and effective performance.
“Taken as a whole, these features result in an interior environment that promotes safety, eases service, and provides a level of comfort that's sure to help attract and retain drivers,” said Tom Kelly, Mack vice-president of marketing.
Featured in the initial offerings of both the Pinnacle and new Granite models is Mack's new MP7 engine — the first in a new family of Mack engines designed with the power, torque, and durability that customers have come to expect.
“The MP engine class is the future of Mack powertrain technology,” said Steve Homcha, Mack executive vice-president of Class 8 programs. “The combination of reliability and technological advancements in these engines deliver the power, performance, and profitability our customers demand.”
The MP7 is an 11-liter engine available in the three Mack engine families — Econodyne, Maxidyne, and MaxiCruise — in six horsepower ratings between 325 and 405 hp, with torque ranging from 1260 to 1560 ft-lb. In 2006, the MP7 will be offered in the company's new Pinnacle and Granite models in an EPA'04-compliant configuration. Additionally, the base design has the key elements to bring it into compliance with the 2007 standards. Key components of the MP7 include:
High-performance (cooled) exhaust gas recirculation system (HEGR).
Variable geometry turbocharger (VGT) with sliding nozzle ring.
Electronically controlled unit injectors.
Single overhead cam with four valves per cylinder.
Wet sleeve cylinders with single-piece steel pistons.
Customers in both highway and vocational applications can expect a significant improvement in fuel economy in the MP7 compared with current engines. Oil drain intervals are currently estimated at 30,000 miles for standard highway applications, and 300 hours (or 15,000 miles) for most construction applications.
The MP7 also incorporates Mack's proprietary PowerLeash engine brake. It is designed to work with all of the company's current transmission offerings, including the Mack Maxitorque and Allison automatics.
From a service perspective, the MP7 is installed low in the chassis for quick, easy access and maintenance. Its overhead cam and valve train system has fewer components with fewer wear points, requiring less adjustment.
In addition to the MP7, the company also announced plans to have the second member of its new engine family — the MP8 — available in 2007. It will be followed by the MP10, probably in 2008.
Designed for customers requiring higher horsepower, the MP8 is a 13-liter engine with ratings from 415 hp to 485 hp matched to torque levels from 1540 to 1700 ft-lb. As with the MP7, the MP8 will be offered in the Mack-distinct Maxidyne, Econodyne, and MaxiCruise performance families. Details on the MP10 are not yet available.
In addition to bringing the new engines to market, Mack plans to continue offering its 2004-certified ASET engines in current Vision highway and Granite vocational models in 2006 as well.
The nerve center in every new Mack Pinnacle and Granite model is the next generation of Mack's Vehicle Management and Control System, V-MAC IV. The computer controls provide the customer-requested programmable features of previous versions and much more, including idle shutdown, enhanced theft deterrence, tamper detection, and daytime running light override.
Customers who opt for the Co-Pilot version of the LCD display in the new vehicles' gauge cluster can access and program V-MAC IV information using a stalk-mounted control. This display also offers day and night light settings, making it easy to read regardless of ambient lighting conditions.