Mack Trucks executives updated general market conditions before officially unveiling its new Anthem long-haul model on Tuesday at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
The Anthem made its unofficial debut two weeks ago at a Mack Dealer event in Allentown, PA, and since then it has been well received, according to Jonathan Randall, senior vice president of sales.
“The market has reacted positively to the Anthem,” he said during a morning briefing. “Customers are walking around and we’re being asked to quote in markets that maybe we wouldn’t have been asked to quote for before.”
The Anthem is an axle back model and will be available in three configurations – day cab, 48-inch flat top sleeper or 70-inch “stand-up” sleeper. Randall previously told FreightWaves that additional sleepers will be available between the 48-inch and 70-inch models in the future.
The 70-inch sleeper allows a driver over 6 feet tall to easily stand at the wheel and walk to the back of the sleeper without the need to duck. It achieves 3% greater fuel efficiency than a current Mack model running GHG 17 Mack MP engines. The day cab gets 1.5% better fuel efficiency.
Redesigned roof and chassis fairings, mirror covers, and front bumper and air dam help with those fuel efficiency numbers. All the lighting is LED and the model features an “automotive-style” release latch on the three-piece hood for easier opening and closing. Gauges on the instrument panel have been positioned higher for better driver visibility, while HVAC controls and the Mack mDrive automated manual transmission (AMT) shift pad have been relocated closer to the driver’s fingertips. All switches for additional truck functions like cruise control, PTOs and traction control now feature laser etching to help maintain markings over the long life of the vehicle.
Mack’s Co-Pilot display has been updated with a new 5-inch, full-color screen for improved visibility and more intuitive navigation. Co-Pilot provides drivers with a convenient way to monitor vehicle information, including engine and oil temperatures, trip odometers, aftertreatment status, tire pressures and more. A Pre-Trip Assistant guides drivers through inspection points and includes a single person exterior light inspection mode.
A 7-inch touchscreen infotainment display offers Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, weather band radio and TomTom truck navigation. Optional comfort features include a television prep kit that can accommodate up to a 24-inch flat screen and a drawer-style refrigerator mounted on the passenger side.
On a more general update, Randall says the economic outlook continues to look encouraging and that the construction market, in which Mack holds a mid-20s market share, is performing well.
“It’s really a good time in the industry and a good time for Mack Trucks, he said, predicting that 225,000 units will be sold this year.
He did note that Mack has introduced the Anthem at an interesting time, as the long-haul segment of sales has declined from 49% last year to about 41% this year.
“We see long haul getting back to about 50% of the market in coming years and we’re really excited with the launch of the Anthem,” he noted.
Randall attributed the decline of long-haul market share to several factors, including an improved construction market and more last-mile activity. Going forward, though, he expects fleets to normalize their trade cycles, larger fleets to start bringing more equipment back online and smaller and medium-sized fleets to start buying more vehicles.
David Pardue hit on some of Mack’s connected services, including its Certified Uptime Centers, which now number more than 100.
Mack will provide over-the-air software updates on all 2018 models and any model with a GHG 2017 engine with GuardDog Connect. There is no charge for the first two years of base engine warranties with subscription plans available as well.