SALEM, Va. – Mack Trucks announced late last month that it is bringing a new bulldog into the market with the creation of the Mack MD Series of medium-duty trucks. To produce this new product line, the company has also opened a new facility in Salem, Virginia.
Mack has made a $13 million investment to establish its Roanoke Valley Operations (RVO) facility, which is being used for equipment, tooling and building enhancements in the 280,000-square-feet of the facility dedicated to the assembly of this new product line. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam also approved a $700,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund for the project.
“The reason that companies want to come to places like Roanoke County is because we have one of the most talented workforces,” Northam said during an unveiling event on Jan. 30. “We are truly blessed to have great colleges and universities and community colleges that are very nimble and able to train individuals that can go into these jobs.”
The Mack MD6, a Class 6 model, has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 25,995 pounds, and the MD7, a Class 7 model, has a GVWR of 33,000 pounds. Both models are exempt from the 12 percent federal excise tax (FET). The MD6 model does not require a CDL to operate for non-hazardous payloads. Production will begin in July.
“We could not be more pleased and honored to be in this great part of the commonwealth of Virginia,” said Martin Weissburg, Mack Trucks president. “This facility will carry on the Mack tradition of 120 years.”
The opening of the new facility will create 250 new jobs in the area when all available positions are staffed, according to Jonathan Randall, senior vice president of North American sales and marketing for Mack. Randall added that the opening of this new facility will not have any impact on the operations at any other Mack facilities, including the Lehigh Valley Operations facility located outside of Allentown, Pennsylvania, which is where Mack’s heavy-duty, Class 8 trucks are produced.
On January 9, Mack announced that 305 employees would be laid off at LVO, which represented a 13% reduction in force at the plant. Those cuts were expected to be made by the end of February and were expected as Mack said late last year that it would need to slow production to cope with reduced demand. Mack expects the North American truck market to be down nearly 30% this year.
“It is unfortunate that we had to take the steps that we had to take in responding to the Class 8 market,” Randall said. “We continue to make and will make significant investments into LVO and that is where we will absolutely continue to build our Class 8 vehicles. When we open the positions here, any of those employees are certainly welcome to apply.”
The Mack MD series lineup will, however, draw inspiration from the Class 8 vehicles that are produced at LVO. Roy Horton, director of product strategy for Mack, said that some of the familiar features from the Mack Anthem helped to create unique selling points for the new product line.
“We’ve got the same bold, unique look that we have without heavy-duty product for our medium-duty product,” Horton said.
In the interior of the MD Series trucks, Horton said features such as a wraparound dash, ergonomic controls telescopic and tilt steering columns as well as a flat-bottom steering wheel for “a little more room” will transition from the heavy-duty world into the medium-duty market.
There were also many small details that Mack duplicated from its heavy-duty line including power windows and locks, optional two-passenger bench seating with storage underneath as well as door panels and other panels in the cab, which makes the cab very quiet, Horton added. Other features resembling those of the heavy-duty models include an air-suspended cab and chassis components, such as 120,000 psi frame rails.
The launch of the new product is a step toward ensuring that Mack can provide a full spectrum of offerings to its current customers. Mack exited with medium-duty market in 2002 and has since had a gap in its “family portrait.”
“We have a lot of customers today who run our Class 8 product but have medium-duty needs,” Randall said. “They really want to work with one OEM and have a single-source provider. It is an expansion of our ability to meet the market demand.”
Randall said that the market for medium-duty trucks typically remains steady at between 90,000 to 100,000 trucks each year in the U.S. and Canada with three fourths of them being Class 6 models, which allows Mack to enter the pick-up-and-delivery portion of the market.
On the hood of these medium-duty trucks, the iconic bulldog will be there but it won’t be the gold ornaments that are seen on the heavy duty-models. Instead, it will be silver, which means that a vendor product is utilized for the transmission, axles or engine instead of every component being proprietary to Mack.
“For those medium-duty components that don’t currently exist in our product portfolio, we’ve partnered with several suppliers that are already in the industry for engines, transmissions and axles and all along the way, we’ve created unique selling points to help differentiate us from the market that we are reentering,” Horton said.
Randall added that even though the bulldog is silver, “it is still a Mack and application excellence is still our guiding principle.”
Original story below: Posted January 30, 2020
ROANOKE VALLEY, Va. – Mack Trucks launched the new Mack MD Series of medium-duty trucks, and will begin serial production in July 2020 at its new manufacturing facility in Virginia.
Mack has made a $13 million investment to establish its Roanoke Valley Operations, a new manufacturing facility in the Roanoke Valley, Virginia, for the production of the Mack MD Series. The project will result in the creation of 250 new jobs.
“Mack Trucks is very proud to make this investment and to now offer a full lineup of Class 6 to Class 8 commercial vehicles, serving virtually every segment of the market,” said Martin Weissburg, Mack Trucks president. “With this investment, Mack is well-positioned for future success, and we’re taking orders for the new truck beginning today.”
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced the $13 million investment during an event with state and local officials at the new facility. Gov. Northam approved a $700,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund for the project.
Mack’s investment is being used for equipment, tooling and building enhancements in the 280,000-square-feet of the facility dedicated to the assembly of Mack medium-duty vehicles.
The Mack MD6, a Class 6 model, has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 25,995 pounds, and the MD7, a Class 7 model, has a GVWR of 33,000 pounds. Both models are exempt from the 12 percent Federal Excise Tax (FET).
The addition of this line up trucks allows Mack to further enhance its credibility as an original equipment maker (OEM) as it now offers a full line up of Class 6, 7 and 8 trucks. The new Class 7 truck builds on Mack’s effort to boost its image with the introduction of the Class 8 Pinnacle model in 2014, the Mack Anthem Class 8 model in late 2017.
The MD6 model does not require a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to operate for non-hazardous payloads.
“Already providing our customers a full product lineup of Class 8 vehicles, which includes straight trucks and cabover platforms, the Mack MD Series expands even further the solutions available to our customers,” said Jonathan Randall, Mack Trucks senior vice president of North American sales and marketing. “Now that we have a full lineup of Class 6 to Class 8 vehicles, customers desiring Mack’s distinctive durability and reliability now have an option for lighter GVWR configurations.”
The Mack MD Series is an all-new model range built specifically for medium-duty applications. Available in 4×2 configurations, the MD6 and MD7 models feature a sharp wheel cut for enhanced maneuverability for tough urban settings.
Wendy Miller holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in strategic communications. Wendy has been a journalist and editor for nearly 15 years and has specialized in niche publications for the past eight years. Wendy draws her love for the trucking industry from growing up as a trucker’s daughter.