A year ago, at the 2020 Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Mack Trucks publicly revealed the MD Series, the manufacturer’s return to the Class 6 and 7 markets with the MD6 (25,995 lb. GVWR) and the MD7 (33,000 lb. GVWR). For the 2021 event, held virtually this year, the original equipment manufacturer shared something far more important to fleets: what actual customers think so far of the trucks, which went into production last September.
“The truck rides very nicely. It looks sharp and is well built and durable,” said Logan Teinert, fleet manager of Teinert Metals, a steel supplier out of Lubbock, Texas, with an 18-unit fleet that includes a brand new MD6. “Immediately, we received several compliments on it out in the field. Our drivers are very excited about running it.”
The MD Series design borrows heavily from the Class 8 Mack Anthem, particularly with the grille and “overall toughness of the design,” said Jonathan Randall, Mack Trucks senior vice president of North American sales and commercial operations. “It doesn't look like anything else that's in the market today,” he added.
It allows Mack to capture a share of the sizable medium-duty market, which averages 100,000 Class 6 and 7 units sold per year. Though this portion of the medium sector dropped to the upper 70,000 range during the COVID-stained 2020, ACT Research predicts 87,000 sold in 2021.
With the expected expansion of the last mile and e-commerce, the Mack MD Series models should fit right into urban environments. This is due to a sharp wheel cut for better maneuvering in tight places, along with a 103-in. bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) measurement.
While the MD does not have Command Steer like the heavy-duty Anthem and Granite, Mack said the interior was designed around the driver for a quieter, more comfortable ride.
The MD6, which does not require a commercial driver’s license for non-hazardous goods, also received a major vote of confidence via an order of 137 units from United Site Services, a Massachusetts-based provider of portable sanitation and temporary site solutions with 2,500 vehicles, including about 1,875 medium-duty trucks.
“We decided to order the Mack MD6 because, with features like the large windshield and maneuverability, we believed Mack could handle our range of applications from pumping water and waste, plus running numerous PTO outputs on the truck,” said Kevin Podmore, vice president of fleet and strategic sourcing for United Site Services. “All of this factors into the safety of our drivers and reliability of service for our customers, which ultimately drive our success. We also have a history with Mack heavy-duty products, so we know Mack’s durability.”
The MD Series is available in a 4X2 configuration and comes with a Cummins B6.7 engine, an Allison six-speed transmission, and Meritor front and rear axles. The trucks are capable of both delivery and vocational applications, including dry van/refrigerated, tank truck, dump, stake, and flatbed.
Mack dealers also appear pleased to be able to keep customers in the Mack network for medium-duty needs, allowing them to leverage customer service advantages such as Mack Assist, a web-based service management program, and Mack OneCall, which links drivers to the 24/7 Mack Uptime Center via Geotab Go telematics device.
“The Mack MD is still built like a Mack truck, and it’s offered with a proven powertrain, probably the best combination for Class 6 and Class 7 trucks, so there are no questions and no hurdles to overcome,” said Cobe Gilliam, truck sales representative at Bruckner’s, which sold the MD6 to Teinert and has 180 MD models on order, likely bound for its leasing fleet. “It’s one of the easier products to sell.”
Nextran Truck Centers found the same to be true in Fort Myers, Fla. Within an hour of receiving its first two MD trucks, the dealer gave two test drives and made two sales.
“The launch of the Mack MD Series was the most impressive product launch ever by Mack,” said John Schwind, general manager and director of medium-duty trucks for Nextran. “The chassis is lighter but with a Class 8 cab and frame, so it’s durable and sound. It’s also equipped with proven technology, offering the best solution in the segment.”
Customers have the option of eight wheelbase lengths, bodies in length from 10 to 26 feet, and the option to swap the standard 22.5-inch wheels for 19.5-inch ones. The MD Series is assembled at Mack's Roanoke Valley Operations facility in the Roanoke Valley, Va.
Several upfitting options also exist.
“We have tried to develop the MD Series to be very compatible and easy to mount a variety of body applications, but the support team can provide additional information when needed,” said Dayle Wetherell, Mack vice president of medium-duty sales.