Watch Now

Mack finds medium-duty absence makes truck market grow fonder

MD Series getting customer raves after Mack reenters market

Mack Trucks is glad it returned to making medium-duty trucks after 20 years based on early customer reactions. (Photo: Mack Trucks)

It appears Mack Trucks really missed making medium-duty trucks over the past two decades. Based on some glowing comments, so did would-be customers.

“The launch of the Mack MD Series was the most impressive product launch ever by Mack,” John Schwind, general manager and director of medium-duty trucks for Nextran Truck Center in Fort Myers, Florida, said in a Mack press release. “The first two MD trucks we received were purchased within the first hour.”

Mack spent $13 million to convert a former comic book publishing plant near Roanoke, Virginia, to rejoin the segment. Medium-duties consistently account for 90,000 to 100,000 truck sales a year. Mack stopped selling the Renault-based Freedom medium-duty model in 2002.

Product attributes

The Mack MD Series includes the MD6, a Class 6 model with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 25,995 pounds. The MD7 is a Class 7 model with a GVWR of 33,000 pounds. Early production began last July. 

Available in 4×2 configurations, the Mack MD6 and MD7 can be used for dry van/refrigerated hauling. They also can be upfit to tank truck, dump, stake and flatbed applications. The trucks offer a clear back-of-cab and top-of-frame rail to ease adaptations by body builders.

The MD6 and MD7 models are equipped with the Cummins (NYSE: CMI) B6.7 engine, an Allison (NYSE: ALSN) six-speed transmission, and Meritor (NYSE: MTOR) front and rear axles.

Eight wheelbase lengths support bodies ranging from 10 to 26 feet. The vehicles come standard with 22.5-inch wheels or optional 19.5-inch wheels.

Early customer reactions

Mack declined to say how many orders it has received or how long the backlog is to receive the trucks. The single-shift operation employs 250 workers.

United Site Services recently purchased 137 Mack MD6 models. The Westborough, Massachusetts-based provider of portable sanitation and temporary site solutions has more than 120 U.S. locations,

“Our medium-duty trucks need to be able to handle a broad range of environments. And we believe Mack’s reliability will enable us to see incredible results,” said Kevin Podmore, United Site Services vice president of fleet and strategic sourcing.

Bruckner Truck Sales in Lubbock, Texas, has 180 Mack MD models on order.

“The Mack MD is still built like a Mack truck,. And it’s offered with a proven powertrain, probably the best combination for Class 6 and Class 7 trucks. So, there are no questions and no hurdles to overcome,” said Cobe Gilliam, a Bruckner sales representative.

Reentry decision affirmed

The positive reactions began when Mack showed dealers the production-ready trucks. That reinforced Mack’s decision to add to its on- and off-highway Class 8 offerings. The MD mimics the look of the heavy-duty Anthem model and shares comfort and ergonomic design features.

“We knew the product had potential for strong market acceptance. And the initial reception and response confirms our confidence,” said Jonathan Randall, Mack senior vice president of North American sales and commercial operations.

Both MD models are exempt from the 12% federal excise tax. No commercial driver’s license is required to operate the MD6 as long as the payload is nonhazardous.

Mack starts early builds of medium-duty trucks

MD Series makes public debut at Work Truck Show

Mack Trucks sees opportunity in stable medium-duty market

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.