Mack’s bulldog bullish on economy

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LOUISVILLE, KY – Mack Trucks has added to the chorus of positive economic news presented during this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show.

“The economy is chugging along, which is good news for our industry,” said John Walsh, vice president – global marketing and brand management, citing factors such as high housing starts and strong consumer spending.

They aren’t the only factors leading to Mack’s projections for 215,000 Class 8 sales in North America this year.

Last year “was the year of the inventory”, Walsh said, referring to an excess of available trucks that impacted sales. “We seem to have worked through this glut. Orders are picking up.”

Overall, he suggested there are “pretty good tailwinds” for the current truck market. And Mack is ready.

The manufacturer has been making significant investments in its North American presence. It is in the midst of a US $84 million “transformation” of its Lehigh Valley truck plant in Pennsylvania, Walsh said. That three-year program was unveiled last year.

It is another theme that has emerged through industry trade shows this spring, with suppliers reinforcing their U.S. manufacturing presence.

“This is nothing new for us. We were born here, we were raised here, we helped to build the country,” said Walsh. “This is nothing we dreamed up just because of a new administration.”

U.S. President Donald Trump, of course, has been stressing the need to bring jobs back to the U.S., and has been critical of operations that build products in Mexico and China.

Last year, Mack said it held the top position in the share of Class 8 refuse trucks, and with the Granite straight truck held a top role in construction as well. “We also last year built our regional haul business,” Walsh said. “We were one of the few heavy-duty truck manufacturers last year to actually grow market share. We actually picked up a full point.”

With the year just underway, Mack has also begun to take orders on its MP8 engine with turbocompounding, available exclusively with the Econodyne downspeeding package. The technology converts waste energy from the exhaust into mechanical energy for the engine – generating up to 50 extra horsepower and boosting fuel economy by as much as 8.8%. The power allows the engine to maintain full torque at engine speeds as low as 900 rpm.

“We’re pretty optimistic looking ahead at the rest of the year for Mack,” Walsh said.

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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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