The launch of a new model in the US and the Mack Anthem breakout opened up long haul possibilities for the truck maker, not only in North America, but also here in Australia. Diesel News traveled to the US to see what it’s all about.
To a certain extent here in Australia, but to a much larger extent in the US, Mack Trucks has not been a big player in the long distance highway truck market. It is not that the trucks weren’t up to doing the work and handling the task, it was about the cabin itself. Sleeper cabs tended to be add-ons to the basic day cab, rather than fully-integrated high roof sleepers.
With the introduction of the Anthem range in the US last September, Mack US became a player in the highway market for the first time, with a new cabin design and manufacturing concept. The truck’s design includes a lot more flexibility in the way it is put together. It can be a day cab, just like the one available on Mack trucks today, but it can also be the front and sides of a cab with an added higher roof and full sleeper.
The new range features a fresh look bonnet, an angular 21st century look that appears quite good in photos, but great in the metal. It freshens up the look of the Mack truck without straying too far from the traditional tough stance the trucks have traditionally had.
However, the changes are a little more than skin-deep. The Anthem is the Mack truck coming bang up-to-date and offering all of the latest electronic safety technology. The only omission is the inclusion of air bags, although Mack is not alone among North American truck makers in this.
One of the other major requirements for any Mack truck is for it to have the distinctive Mack ‘look’ and this model does. When the model was first unveiled, those reading the news and looking at the photos may well have thought the new truck looked a little clunky and not so stylish. Actually seeing the truck in the metal, on the Mack testing track in Pennsylvania and on the company’s stand at the Mid America Trucking Show, changed that perspective. This is a good looking truck as well as being undeniably Mack.
In terms of style, the new look ends up somewhere between Transformers and the traditional Mack shape we have known since the arrival of the CH Mack, back in the nineties.
The fundamental difference – which is going to flow from the new model and change the perception of the Mack truck – is the spacious sleeper with a high roof from back to front.
We are now in a Post-Kenworth T 610 world. The Australian truck market now believes it needs a spacious cab on a conventional truck in which a driver can stand up from the driver’s seat and step into the sleeper area. The Mack Anthem will be able to provide exactly that for the first time.