Mack Trucks adds first medium-duty in two decades

Martin Weissburg and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam

Mack Trucks will build Class 6 and 7 medium-duty trucks for the first time in decades, investing $13 million to take over a vacant facility near Roanoke, Virginia, the company said Thursday.

Mack is investing $13 million to improve the 280,000-square-foot facility to build MD Series trucks for van, refrigerated and other applications.

The location in the Blue Ridge Mountains places Mack, a unit of Volvo Group (OTC: VLVLY), just 45 miles south on Interstate 81 from its sibling Volvo Trucks North America, which builds heavy-duty trucks in Dublin, Virginia. Mack’s heavy-duty plant is in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley near Allentown.

Both brands have headquarters and engineering facilities in Greensboro, North Carolina, about two hours south of Mack’s new plant.

The new plant received $700,000 from the Virginia Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam attended the ribbon cutting inside the plant on Thursday. It is expected to create 250 new jobs and add $364 million annually to the local economy.

Reentering the medium-duty segment responds to Mack heavy-duty customers who said they want to purchase all their trucks from a single manufacturer, according to Jonathan Randall, Mack senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Neither Randall nor Mack President Martin Weissburg would discuss electrification plans for the medium duties, other than Weissburg saying that Volvo would remain a leader in truck electrification.

The Mack MD6, a Class 6 model with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 25,995 pounds, and the MD7, a Class 7 model with a GVWR of 33,000 pounds, are exempt from the 12% Federal Excise Tax (FET). The MD Series will be equipped with a Cummins (NYSE: CMI) Series B 6.7-liter diesel engine, Randall said.

Mack’s last medium-duty truck was the Freedom in 2002, preceded by the Renault-based Midliner, which went out of production in the mid-1990s.