ATLANTA, Ga. – “It’s a great time to be a bulldog.”
That was the message from Jonathan Randall, senior vice-president of sales for Mack Trucks, when he addressed the trade press this morning at the inaugural North American Commercial Vehicle show.
He cited positive economic indicators, the expected revival of the long-haul truck market, and Mack’s continued strength in the construction and refuse segments as reasons to be optimistic. And with the launch of its new Anthem highway tractor, which was unveiled to the public for the first time at the show, Randall said Mack is poised to benefit from those strengthening market conditions.
Randall said Mack is projecting total North American Class 8 market demand to meet or surpass 225,000 units this year, up from earlier predictions of 215,000 units. Mack grew its market share by 1% last year and this year is up a couple tenths of a per cent in the U.S., but Randall acknowledged the brand has seen a market share loss in Canada. This was due to a lower share of the cabover refuse truck segment, which Randall said Mack is already recovering, and ready to fully recapture based on order backlog. He feels the company will finish out the year at the 8% of the total Class 8 market it held last year in Canada.
Randall said early feedback on the new Anthem has been positive, and Mack is well positioned now to be a stronger player in the longhaul segment – where it has traditionally not been strong – at a time when the market is recovering.
“Not only are we still retaining our very strong positions in construction and refuse…we are growing market share in regional haul and now we are a strong consideration with the Anthem for longhaul business,” Randall said.
The longhaul segment this year accounted for just 41% of the Class 8 market, down from its traditional range of 48-50%.
“We see the longhaul market starting to take its rightful place back at about 50% of the overall market in the next couple years, and with the launch of the Anthem, we’re really excited about the opportunities we have to continue to grow, not only in our core segments, but in this segment as well,” Randall said.
Mack is already taking orders for the Anthem, and early orders numbers from both dealers and customers have been strong, Randall said.
“We’re being asked to quote on a lot of business previously we wouldn’t have been asked to quote on,” he said. “This is what this is doing for us. It’s getting us back into markets where we haven’t been a strong consideration, and now we’re absolutely a strong consideration.”
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies