Mack has surprised the market by announcing it is returning to the medium-duty truck market in the USA with a new Class 6/7 range that will be assembled at a new dedicated facility in Roanoke County in Virginia.
The new Mack medium duty line up will be known as the MD Series and they are due to go into production around August.
Mack’s new Roanoke Valley Operations location represents a $US13million investment ($AUD 20.02million) by the Volvo Group and will employee 250 new workers.
The project has been in the works for about two years but was a closely guarded secret prior to the announcement.
“Mack Trucks is very proud to make this investment and to now offer a full line-up of Class 6 to Class 8 commercial vehicles, serving virtually every segment of the market,” said Mack president Martin Weissburg. “With this investment, Mack is well-positioned for future success.”
“The Class 6/7 market has been historically stable, 90,000 to 100,000 trucks a year in U.S. and Canada,” added Jonathan Randall, senior vice-president of North American sales and marketing. “We have a lot of customers already in our portfolio who already run medium-duty trucks, and they’ve been asking us for a single-source solution for quite a while.”
“Now we feel our family portrait is complete,” he said.
Mack hasn’t had a medium-duty offering in the USA for around 18 years since discontinuing the Freedom model in 2002. Earlier offerings in the Class 6/7 sectors included the MC Series and Midliner.
“This isn’t new to us in any shape or form, but the Freedom was a heavily Renault-based truck, and this is an all a North American-based truck,” ,” Randall said .
The Class 6 Mack MD6 will have a GVM of 12 tonnes while its Class 7 MD7 sibling has a rating of 15tonnes and will focus on applications including dry van, refrigerated van, flatbed, dump and tank trucks in 4×2 configurations.
Interestingly for a Volvo owned company the new Mack MD will be equipped with a Cummins B6.7 engine delivering 220 to 300 hp with an Allison 2500HS six-speed automatic transmission as standard with an Allison 2500RDS available for those who need a PTO.
The cab itself will ride on an air suspension rather than rubber blocks, and includes several features found elsewhere in the Mack product family. The grille and hood match the styling of the Mack Anthem introduced in late 2017, while the cab is a variation on the Mack Granite.
Mack says its new Roanoke Valley Operations location was chosen to leverage the proximity to its headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina, as well as Volvo’s New River Valley plant where the cabs will be painted.
“This is a completely new platform, completely new product, and does not take anything out of our Lehigh Valley Operations,” Randall stressed.
The new jobs announced in Virginia will offset Mack’s recent decision to lay off 305 employees from the LVO plant in Pennsylvania because of a downturn in the heavy truck market.