With North American Class 8 truck orders expected to eclipse 235,000 units in 2017 and 260,000 in 2018, Mack Trucks is confident in its prospects to grow market share. Bolstered by the introduction of the new Mack Anthem launched this fall, the truck maker believes it is better positioned than ever to earn business from mid- to large-size fleets in the long-haul and regional-haul markets not currently part of the company’s traditional customer base.
“We’ve been happy with volumes and general interest from customers not in our normal wheelhouse,” said Jonathan Randall, Mack’s senior vice president of North American sales, adding its core clientele historically has been owner-operators and small and mid-size fleets in line haul applications. “The Anthem has opened doors for us, and you’ll see these trucks running in colors with badges on the side that you haven’t seen in a lot of years.”
Mack’s share of the long-haul segment of the NAFTA Class 8 market has fallen this year, but Randall said Mack expects it to increase. With e-commerce and the growth in final mile affecting freight patterns, Randall expects the regional-haul Class 8 market to continue its gains.
Class 8 orders in the construction segment, currently 16 percent of total NAFTA Class 8 orders, are expected to remain consistent. “The construction segment, in general numbers, will remain fairly flat in a very good market, but as a percentage of the total market it may come down a little.” Mack expects to maintain its construction segment market share with its Mack Granite.
Mack also is emphasizing growth opportunities west of the Mississippi River. The company currently has a 5 percent market share in the Western region, and it plans to double that with its current product mix that it believes now provides an advantage by suiting a wider variety of applications across both flat and mountainous terrains.
“We are all about application expertise,” said Randall. “Our [western market share] has fallen off a little bit, we will focus on this region as an opportunity because we have the right trucks and right technology to drive growth,” said Randall. Referring to the MP8 13-liter engine with 505 hp and up to 1,860 lb-ft torque, “We can pull 80,000 pounds on any grade without problem, and our 13-liter is a very good alternative to a 15-liter engine.”
Electrification on the horizon
With the recent concept launches of the Nikola One tractor and Tesla Semi, as well as traditional truck makers beginning to roll out electric-drivetrain models, Mack too is investigating diesel alternatives.
“Electro mobility is on the bubble and something everyone is looking at,” said Roy Horton, Mack’s director of product strategy. “It definitely will be part of our future, but how that takes shape is the big question.”
Horton said e-mobility’s initial growth will be in segments with home-based charging and not dependent on infrastructure, citing current uses in public transportation and refuse markets. From there, he said it will expand to applications with fixed routes where charging infrastructure is secure and range requirements are less, including local distribution and select regional-haul and vocational niches.
“Last to emerge will be long-distance applications in corridors with secured infrastructure,” said Horton.
“There will be pressure for alternative drivelines and alternative fuels, but diesel is cleaner than it has ever been and is doing an incredible job across our industry and across the world,” added Horton. “As these new technologies emerge, it will be an uphill battle and will take time to fill all the areas the diesel engine does today.”
Continuing NASCAR sponsorships
After announcements this year of partnerships with reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack and country music star Steve Moakler, Mack announced a new partnership with Petty’s Garage to be the official transportation sponsor for Richard Petty’s high-performance speed shop. Mack has been the official hauler of NASCAR for the last two years.
Petty’s Garage will receive a 2018 Mack Pinnacle Axle Back model with an MP8-445C engine to transport cars for its Performance Tour at select events across the United States.
“This is a new experience we are able to provide to customers with pace car rides, garage area access and appearances by Richard Petty at Mack hospitality events,” said John Walsh, Mack’s vice president of marketing and global brand.