The question on the lips for many Mack enthusiasts in Australia is when does Mack Anthem arrive in Australia?
“The date for Anthem in Australia is still fluid for us,” says Dean Bestwick, Vice President, Mack Sales Australia.. “As soon as I can get the quality secure. The key is securing the quality. Most of it has been validated already on North American roads, so we’ve got a good platform to go to the next level.
“We need to ensure the flexibility in the cab and sleeper are not compromised in our rough conditions, because we will also be putting Anthem components on some of our bigger models at higher gross combined masses (GCM).
“Within our project, the scope for us is not just the Anthem model. The scope is to integrate the sleeper across our other models. What it gives us is the sleeper and dashboard across the range.
“We know the cooling’s fine. It’s the peripheries we have to work on. Our driveline has been as solid as a rock since 2007. The base MP8, MP10 and the mDrive are now awesome. It’s the peripheries, like little brackets and things like that. We won’t deliver anything which compromises on our quality. If I have to prolong development to maintain quality, we will.”
The basic components around the driveline to be used in Australia are the heaviest duty version used in the US. Mack in Australia will get major components such as the complete knock down (CKD) form for the Anthem sleeper components, but all of the trim will be done by Mack in Australia. Overall labour content will go up but basic component prices will come down. Dean is confident the new model will not jeopardise Mack’s current Australian Made status.
“The bonnets and the sleeper cabs will be coming in, but we will still make our Superliner, Trident and Metroliner bonnets locally,” says Dean. “They won’t change.”
As to timing, Dean suggests the most probable date for the release is sometime in 2020. This would be a launch for the Anthem model itself but also the introduction of elements from Anthem elsewhere in the Mack range.
“There are some things which can’t be rushed,” says Dean. “When you hook strain gauges up on a chassis, you have got to get some kilometres up.”
All of these things take time and, meanwhile Kenworth have clear water with their current high roof sleeper, with the T610 design likely to appear in a similar form in both T4 and T9 models in the near future.
It has taken some time for Mack to get to the point where they genuinely have a highway option that fits the bill. Now they have come up with a design that looks like the real thing. There have been many Mack enthusiasts champing at the bit looking for a better sleeper cabin on the Mack.
Importantly, with the arrival of the Anthem product and design, Mack will now be in the mix as an option for so many more applications. The short BBC B-double prime mover market is one in which every truck manufacturer needs to play. The Anthem model and the introduction of Anthem architecture elsewhere in the range will see Mack become a viable contender in areas in which it has struggled in the past.