The answer to the question about how different will the Aussie Mack Anthem be is still open. This model is only recently launched in North America and the process of rejigging the design for Australia is going to take a while. However, the Australian Mack organisation has been involved since the original inception of the Anthem project, back in 2012. Their input was taken on board, so the shift from left hand drive to right hand drive could be feasible.
Anthem will be coming. It will replace the current Granite models in its first flush. The other side of the introduction will see elements of the Anthem design integrated into other models like Trident and Superliner. How long this is likely to take is also an open question. We are very early on in the development process.
“Mack’s never had anything to offer like this, as an integrated sleeper in the line-haul segment,” says Dean Bestwick, Vice President, Mack Sales Australia. “Now North America are really taking the over highway product seriously.
“In Australia at the moment, we do not have a bonnet or grille, which is the same as the American one. Being able to adapt these Anthem products will be significant for us. Underneath the truck is significant for us in Australia. We have to make sure that bonnet, sleeper or subframe is properly insulated from the chassis for durability.
“Currently, we also have to adapt components for use in the Australian market. We will have less need for adaptation when it comes to the sleeper and its subframe, when we bring in the Anthem.”
An Aussie Anthem will come with an MP8 engine available at least up to 535hp. The dashboard and steering wheel are a given and these will migrate across the whole Mack range, over time. The much-improved electrics and electronics are also a given, adaptive and predictive cruise, as well as collision avoidance are becoming the norm very quickly.
The base platform of the Australian-made chassis and the proven driveline will carry over from the current range, with some adaptation.
The big question will be about this 70 inch sleeper cabin. Here the development options are many and varied. What Mack in Australia needs is a good useable sleeper that can sit in front of a full size B-double and still have room for a decent bunk and living space. In consideration of the Anthem, there will be a number of options and the Mack team are currently weighing them up.
The 70 inch sleeper as it sold in the US would be a ripper, but fitting it in the envelope is virtually impossible. Mack reckon they are investigating some options. A shorter cabin would be an easier option to get over the line dimensionally, but one that would need more time.
Internal equipment in the cabin would be relatively simple, it is modular in design and can be adapted with little fuss. The units of storage are mounted on a rail system to allow for adjustments to suit different configurations and requirements.
Close examination of the construction of the 70 inch monster reveals one of the body panels on the side which could be deleted. This would mean a new roof design and an adaptation of a couple of other panels. This is also quite feasible.
Either way, the die is cast. Mack will have a sleeper cabin on a B-double prime mover in which the driver can stand up and walk around in comfort. This in itself will be a revelation for the Mack stalwarts of Australia, but also an attractive option for operators currently running rival brands.
The electrical architecture in the Anthem is a significant step up from that fitted in the current range and Mack in Australia will be looking to introduce this across its range. Improved harnesses should improve manufacture, but it is the increased functionality that is the major draw card.