ORLANDO. Mack Trucks is not only renewing its sponsorship of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) “Share the Road” highway safety program – an effort it’s sponsored for the last 17 years – the OEM is also donating a new 2018 Mack Anthem tractor equipped with a 70-in. “Stand Up” sleeper berth to the program as well.
Professional truck drivers nominated to join the “Share the Road” program conduct live safety exhibitions for school students, the media, plus state and federal legislators (among others) for a one-year term to demonstrate how to drive safely alongside semi-trucks.
Jonathan Randall, senior vice president of sales for Mack Trucks North America, handed over the keys to the “Share the Road” Anthem tractor to Chris Spear, ATA’s president and CEO, during a press event here at ATA’s Management Conference & Exhibition.
Randall also provided an updated “market outlook” as the OEM prepares to “close out” 2017:
• Mack raised its forecast for total Class 8 production in 2017 to 235,000 units from its previous prediction of 225,000 units made at the start of the year. “And we believe it will be significantly higher for 2018,” Randall said.
• Year-to-date Class 8 retail sales for Mack in the U.S. and Canada indicate the OEM is maintaining market share of 8.5%.
• Randall said demand is already high for Mack’s new Anthem tractor, which goes into full production in the first quarter of 2018. “Order intake for the Anthem has already outpaced what we sold [for its other Class 8 models] for the  calendar year; we’re already way ahead,” he noted.
• Increasing freight volume and rates point to a shift back to demand for more “long-haul” models, Randall pointed out, with the long-haul segment “returning” to its traditional 45% to 46% share of the Class 8 tractor market.
• No one particular segment of long-haul – dry van, refrigerated, etc. – will drive that resurgence, he added: “We just see broad general growth occurring for the long-haul segment.”
• Yet Randall also noted that growth in the regional segment and for daycab tractors, particularly for “last mile” operations, will probably experience larger rate of growth as a percentage figure when compared to the long-haul sector.
• Despite its new focus on the long-haul market, Randall stressed that Mack remains “committed to defend” the OEM’s core business in the construction, refuse, and regional segments.