A five-foot tall gold bulldog greets you at the entrance and the world’s largest bulldog is a short walk away at the museum.
It’s The Mack Experience Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and while the iconic dogs didn’t change during a recent $3.2 million renovation, plenty else did including the guest list.
A new briefing room allows for a Mack truck to join meetings from an adjacent showroom floor. On Tuesday, a Mack LR Electric had been driven into the room ahead of a press conference hosted by Mack Trucks North America President Jonathan Randall.
Having Mack’s first all-electric truck in the room served as strong reminder of an industry sea change which Randall and the rest of the Mack team are embracing. In addition to predictive analytics and advanced driver assistance features that improve safety and the bottom line comes zero-emission trucks and subject matter experts ready to help fleets make the transition.
“What really excites me here is that the industry, and Mack particularly, is transitioning from an equipment provider to a services and solutions provider,” Randall told reporters while standing in front of a large screen used for slide and video presentations.
“We love our trucks. I may be a little biased, but I think our iron is the best-looking iron on the road, but it's about more than the iron," Randall continued. "It's about the services and solutions that we provide to wrap that with services and support for our customers so that ultimately our customers are succeeding with their customers.”
In short, Randall and Mack's Vice President of Global Brand and Marketing David Galbraith want customers and dealers to know that Mack’s got their back and they see the Mack Experience Center playing a vital role in reaffirming that message.
“The Mack Experience Center brings the Mack brand to life through experience and education,” Galbraith said. “The building has been modernized with design elements that enable visitors to capture the depth of Mack products and the innovation core to the Mack brand.”
In both complementing and extending beyond the dealership experience, customers and dealers can meet directly with OEM subject matter experts, see trucks on the new showroom floor and go for a test drive on improved on-road and off-road tracks, which feature new obstacles including a mud pit and rock course. It’s been roughly three years since customers could get on the track and the test drive list is filling fast.
Other improvements include a renovated lobby, a new meeting room and a new truck lift on the showroom floor "that can raise trucks high enough for customers and dealers to walk under and really see what makes a Mack a Mack," Randall said.
Customers can also sign up for plant tours. In nearby Macungie, at the Lehigh Valley Operations (LVO) facility, Mack heavy-duty models are assembled for North America and export.
“When you tour Mack, it's different because the folks on the line they're stopping what they're doing and talking to the customers. They want to know how things are working. They're really engaged with our customers,” Randall said.
A two-and-half-hour drive to north Maryland takes you to Volvo Group North America’s Hagerstown Plant, which builds engines, transmissions and axles for Mack, Volvo Trucks, Prevost coaches and Volvo Buses.
“You can go there and experience all of that as well,” Randall said of the Hagerstown plant. “It really gives the customers even a higher level of comfort and confidence in what they're buying.”
Customers can also experience Mack’s 123-year history at the Mack Truck Museum, a non-profit supported by Mack and its customers, some of whom have donated or loaned historic trucks for display. A recent loaner includes a Mack LR Electric prototype from the City of New York Department of Sanitation. DSNY has since gone on to work closely with Mack to expand testing of the LR Electric refuse trucks in each of the city’s boroughs.