Volvo, Mack identities will remain after deal, says Gigou

HAGERSTOWN, Pa. – Mack trucks will continue to have a separate identity once Renault VI’s truck business is sold to Volvo AB, Mack Trucks president and CEO Michel Gigou says. In fact, there are still plans to unveil a new generation of Mack trucks developed in conjunction with Renault engineers.

“We are talking about very dramatic evolution of the current existing range (of trucks),” Gigou said in a conference call, referring to new products that will be unveiled in the next few years. “We are moving from an era when Mack was on its own to an era when Mack and Renault VI are working together … (but) we are not talking about a European style of truck being sold in America.”

The first of the new Macks will be a lightweight Class 8 model (known internally as the Granite Line) that’s designed for strict bridge formulas in the U.S. northeast. Another bridge-formula-related product will come 18 months later, he added.

“A theme which is part of the deal is to make sure one, plus one, plus one is greater than three,” he said of the Volvo takeover announced in late April. “It’s not a question of blending one brand with another. It’s not a matter of trying to mix.”

But where the trucks will be distinct, expect future components to be shared. Renault’s Premium and Mack’s Vision are able to share the same cooling systems without sacrificing their distinct identities, he said.

Ironically, Volvo shareholders turned down a plan to form a strategic alliance with Renault in the ’90s.

“In the early part of the ’90s, when the deal fell out, the deal was rejected by the shareholders of Volvo AB who felt it was not in the best of the interest of them and other shareholders to have a partnership. A lot of things have changed,” Gigou said, when questioned by Truck News about how the transition to Volvo ownership would work. “We have a better understanding today of the things that we have done in the ’80s that were not right,” he said of the company’s development. And Volvo has since sold its car division, while its bid to buy Scania’s truck business was recently scuttled by European regulators. That’s why Renault officials decided to approach Volvo executives.

“We felt very strongly that to secure the future of Renault VI and Mack, we had to be part of the Top 3 truck manufacturers in the world.” n

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