In January Mack Trucks, a unit of Volvo Group (OTC: VLVLY), announced its re-entry into the medium-duty marketplace with its Class 6 and 7 MD series.
The MD6, featuring a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 25,995 pounds, and the MD7, with a GVWR of 33,000 pounds, will both be equipped with a Cummins (NYSE: CMI) Series B6.7-liter diesel engine.
At the NTEA's Work Truck Show this week in Indianapolis, Mack showed the vehicles publicly for the first time.
"It's been a very busy 45 days for us and for [this] product," Jonathan Randall, senior vice president of sales and marketing, said during a press conference at the show.
An MD6 chassis cab with Morgan 18-foot van body was on display and featured a six-speed Allison 2500 HS transmission. It had a Class 8-inspired dash with flat-bottomed steering wheel, fixed bench passenger seat with integrated storage box, 22.5-inch wheels, Meritor 10,000-lb. front axle and 19,000-lb. rear axle, 103-inch BBC, Geotab Go telematics.
The MD6 and MD7 will be built at a facility in Roanoke, Virginia. The company is investing $13 million to convert the 280,000-square-foot facility. It is expected to create 250 new jobs and add $364 million annually to the local economy.
Randall said the vehicles fulfill a need for Mack customers and dealers in Class 6-7; 100,000 trucks a year are being sold in those classes.
"It's length, or halo value, for our Class 8 customers that run our Anthems, our Granites, and had to go elsewhere for their [medium-duty needs]," Randall said.
Roy Horton, director of product strategy, said the introduction of the MD Series continues a strong trend for Mack that started three years ago with the Anthem introduction and has continued with many new features and services across the model lineup.
"We've had a fantastic story over the last three years with all the new product launches," he said.
The MD Series brings much of the design elements and driver comforts from Class 8 models to the medium-duty space.
"It's got the old distinctive Mack look, it's got the Mack strength, and it's got the Mack uptime," Horton said.
Randall said the truck will initially be targeted for van, refrigerated, dump bodies and tank operations, but its clean back of cab design, industry-standard 34-inch width, and 103-inch BBC length means it can be adapted to other needs. Those four segments account for about 75% of Class 6-7 truck sales, Randall said.
Production begins in July, but orders to date have been strong, Randall said. "We've got orders to cover several months after production starts," he said.
In regard to Class 8, Randall said Mack is seeing good orders for the first part of 2020, and it remains bullish on the NAFTA market this year. The company has remained firm in its prediction of 240,000 Class 8 orders in the region.
Over-the-road tractors are projected to account for about 43% to 44% of overall commercial truck orders in 2020, down from last year's 49% share. Most of that decline will come at the expense of medium-duty vocational trucks, which Randall said remains a strong market for Mack overall.
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