• Issue 133 • November 2018

Trucker Digest • Established in 2007

Mack presented Anthem in Edmonton, Alberta

By www.dorogaroad.com

Mack Trucks NA invited journalists into Edmonton to present their newest class 8 truck named Anthem.

In a mid-October, when parts of Canadian Alberta province is snow covered, Mack Trucks NA invited journalists into Edmonton to present their newest class 8 truck named Anthem. DorogaRoad was among the invited. Please find below the fragments of Mack’s team presentation.

Jonathan Randall, Senior VP Mack Sales and Marketing NA:

Thank you for joining us today, thank you for visiting, and we will give you a little bit of insight into what is going on. Certainly, we're proud of our business up here and our customers up here and what we're able to do to meet the unique and sometimes very extreme challenges that this market presents to our equipment. And Canada is obviously a very important market for our company. Globally, it's the 10-th largest commercial truck market that we serve today. This is number ten on our list when you look at Class 6 to 8, a very important market all around. It's a great time to be in the truck market, and it doesn't matter really at what capacity you serve this market. Things are extremely hot right now, the order intake is extremely strong, production levels and backlogs are high in a lot of instances, including in Canada and we don't see much of an end in sight. This year we have forecasted the truck market for NAFTA countries, maybe I should be calling that USMCA, at 300,000 we forecast the next year to be equally strong. Things are good, but the trucking industry presents other challenges, first of all, challenges that we need to address whether it's supply chain, vendors, and other kinds of things meeting customer demands. But certainly better problems to have than going out maybe having to beg for orders to fill the factory.

From a macroeconomic standpoint, as I said, USMCA at least agree to accept the replacement for NAFTA.

We've had Canadian exports grew before the Agreement 12.3% in Q2 2018. And we’re having extremely strong Canadian truck orders, the backlog of 30,000 trucks. Now we don't break out how we view the market for Canada that's about a Year's worth of production in the industry backlog right now, and orders are still coming in. And again, we believe that Canadian sales will continue to be strong in 2019. We forecast the US will be a little bit stronger but again, all very good news economically. Total Construction spending in Canada leveled-off a little bit, but the trend is continuing to climb. The interesting thing about it is last year when the sales volume was 243,000 trucks; the construction business accounted for a higher percentage of the overall Market. It's just the percentage of deliveries that were taken. This year that's dropped. Now in flat raw numbers, the construction market segments are fairly flat, but as a total percentage of the overall Market, it's gone down a couple of points. The reason is that the majority of the growth that was experiencing this year is over-the-road truckers, mainly sleepers, mainly fleet business is driving a significant portion of the growth we're seeing from 243,000 to a 300,000-truck market this year. Freight rates are still very strong; when we talk to our customers, when we talk to our fleets, the issue right now is in tonnage. It's not freight; it's finding capacity and finding drivers to drive the capacity. And often, when selling trucks to a customer, if they're going to order 20, 30 or 40 they say "I'll order another 20 if I could find drivers for them."

I believe that the freight opportunity is still very strong for the carriers. This talks a little bit about what I was mentioning about earlier, when you look at how the segments have broken up, the first thing that is obviously eye-catching, at least to me, and this is the US, and Canada is July YTD of registrations last year were ~117,7k trucks, this year: ~153k. So that shows the growth. If we can talk about the construction segment, this is what serves a construction segment is a straight truck greater equal to 10 leaders I would break it up. You see here it's 16% of the overall Market you come over here it's down 14% because Long Haul goes from 41.5% in 2017 to 45,5% in 2018.

And that's really was driving to a significant portion of the growth in the industry. We believe that's going to continue to drive the growth in the commercial truck industry into next year. What we do expect to see is that this Regional Haul will start to take a bigger chunk as well. As people try to figure out the quarter-to-quarter Last Mile conundrum and how you manage and deal with the local market. I always enjoy talking about the ultimate online purchasing experience, which is Amazon, who also right now happens to be the largest brick and mortar construction going on in the States. In order to be able to be closer to their customers, they are driving some of that business, and that will continue to drive growth in the highway business.

What is specific to Canada you can see on the Long-Haul business; Canada is actually a larger percentage of the market is the Long Haul. That's most of the sleeper business. It’s almost 50% of the total Market. The backlog is let us say, 30,000 trucks, 15,000 thousand of them are going be for sleeper truckers. You see some of that growth also in the Regional Haul for Canada.

We're experiencing very good times right now; we're experiencing a good backlog, we believe that it's a pretty firm backlog at least for the Mack brand with our customer base and who we work with. You'll not see a lot of speculation in there from my perspective, and we're very careful to manage that, so that we don't find ourselves on a cliff or a bubble at some point, with the order intake that we see coming in, and the deliveries we're seeing going up, certainly this pace will eventually stop.

Stu Russoli, Highway Product manager, Mack Trucks NA

I'll talk a little bit about the Anthem, not too much; I’d rather give you the main overview. When you look at the Anthem, you know it's a Mack. It’s something we asked about the design people who worked on the project. Told them we need this to look like a Mack. We need it to look bold, and we want the customers and the drivers to identify themselves with it. So that's a big thing, the looks of it. When you see it coming down the road, it's a Mack, and you're not going to mistake it for anything else.

Fuel economy that's the second thing we asked for. We need to improve our air and fuel economy. And going from the Pinnacle (which is the predecessor of the Anthem) to the Anthem spec to spec from the mechanical truck a couple of years ago to the truck this year, you improve automatically 3% fuel economy; just the same spec is going from one truck to another. 3% fuel economy improvement with the sleeper. If you add in such things, as the integrated roof air deflector (the basic truck has) and the side shields, then it's an aerodynamic truck. Now if you add in chassis fairings, the ground-effects of the bumper air dam, the rubber extensions on the side and the trim tab, I call that the full aero package, you then gain another 3% fuel economy. So now you have 6% fuel economy over the Pinnacle truck.

Now, if you go to the HE Engine, the high-efficiency engine with an energy recovery technology, that's another six percent fuel economy. We have a package we call the HE Plus. It's the full aerodynamic package — the HE Engine, predictive cruise control, and you get 9,5% fuel economy than of the base Anthem sleeper. Forget about all previous trucks versus this truck. Just by adding all this - the fuel-efficient engine and the aerodynamics, you actually gain 9,5% fuel economy, so you get more down speeding and more aerodynamics. There's a lot of opportunities for customers out there if they're really want to be sipping fuel, they could do it. It doesn't work for everybody, maybe you can't do the ground effects, or you have to go off-road, or something and you don't need to slow. But there's a lot of opportunities to play with this and get the best fuel economy out of Anthem.

And another thing here, the third thing we asked designers for was driving. We want driver comfort; we want the drivers to be happy for the dash here, for the driving environment. What we did - we tried to move everything we could that the driver uses every day as close to him as possible. If you look at the steering wheel, it's got cruise control, the phone, and the radio. A few buttons are not too many, not so busy like you're searching around for which button to push, but it's all at your fingertips. The engine brake is on the right-hand armrest, right at the driver's fingertips. Something you use a lot: the wiper, the turn signal, and the high beams on the left side, but a lot of things brought closer. If you look at the torpedo in the middle, that gives you all your information. I like to have it on the home screen because it gives me RPMs, the mileage, it gives me how far I'm going, and so on. You see, a lot of information you can put right in front of you, and the driver can toggle what he likes best. There're different screens; you can put it over there. The key is to have everything in front of you. The driver doesn’t have to stretch out from side to side; he concentrates on the road. We moved the transmission keypad closer to the driver; it used to be further away. So, we moved that on the radio. Then an infotainment system, which we have GPS on there along with other items. The switches that we have on dash wrapped around very nicely, so you don't have to lean out of your seat to push a button. If you do have to use those, but the less frequently used items are further to the right, and the things you're going to use more are right by the driver.

We don't stop there. We finally have a stand-up sleeper, so the comfort for the driver not just in the driving environment, but also in the living environment. Standard sleeper has a lot more space, very spacious, and with that space, we also capitalize on giving the best-in-class storage. We have back wall storage, the storage on both sides behind the driver seat, a big wardrobe floor to ceiling, and on the other side, we have a microwave, a built-in refrigerator, flat screen TV and under-bunk storage also, plus the normal luggage storage underneath. It’s a lot of storage; we try to make it as comfortable for the driver as possible. Especially here, in Canada if you're going long stretches, you need to be as comfortable as possible, you need to bring along as much as you can. I mean a driver gets in, he's going to bring everything he can for a week or however long he's going, so he needs a lot of storage. Driver retention and driver recruitment are very hard these days, so that was really a key factor to make sure we're looking after the driver, making them happy with our truck, and we think we've done very successfully there.

Text and photos by Serge Vankevich,