Granite Extensions, Mp Engine Highlight Latest Mack Rollouts

Using as a venue its World Sales Conference in Las Vegas in late October, Mack Trucks revealed a complete new range of vehicles designed for both highway

Using as a venue its World Sales Conference in Las Vegas in late October, Mack Trucks revealed a complete new range of vehicles designed for both highway and construction customers. Among the 2006 offerings are new editions of Granite and Granite Axle Back construction vehicles.

Featured in the initial Granite models’ release is Mack’s MP7 engine, the first in a new family of power offerings. The MP7 is an 11-liter model available in the three Mack engine families Û Econodyne, Maxidyne and MaxiCruise Û in six horsepower ratings between 325 and 405, with torque ranging from 1,260 to 1,560 ft.-lb. Although the MP7 will initially be offered in an EPA ’04-compliant configuration, the MP7’s base architecture represents the heart of Mack’s solution to the 2007 EPA emissions regulations.

In both highway and vocational applications, customers can expect a significant improvement in fuel economy in the MP7, according to the manufacturer. Oil drain intervals are currently estimated at 30,000 miles for standard highway applications and 300 hours (or 15,000 miles) for most construction applications.

In addition to the MP7, Mack also announced plans to have the second member of its new engine family Û the MP8 Û available in 2007. Designed for those requiring higher horsepower, the MP8 is a 13-liter engine with ratings from 415 to 485 hp, matched to torque levels from 1,540 to 1,700 lb.-ft. According to Steve Homcha, executive vice president, Class 8 products, the new MP7s (manufactured in the company’s Hagerstown, Md. plant) will be adapatable to Î07 emissions standards with a diesel particulate filter.

The company does plan to continue offering its Î04-certified ASET engines in current Granite vocational models in 2006 as well.

The new Granite models feature a 116-ft. BBC dimension and are built on the Mack Cornerstone vocational chassis. The new cab design includes: a 4-in. increase in day cab depth, allowing for a seat angle recline of more than 20 degrees; a wrap-around, cockpit-style dash with a new primary gauge cluster and space for up to 25 switches; a one-piece windshield for enhanced visibility; and, a broadly adjustable steering column and new driver foot pedal controls, with all pedals suspended (rather than floor mounted) and on the same plane.

The nerve center of the new Granite model is the next generation of Mack’s Vehicle Management and Control System (V-MAC IV), which provides programmable features of previous versions plus idle shutdown, enhanced theft deterrence, tamper detection and daytime running light override. Customers who opt for the Co-Pilot version of the LCD display in the new vehicles’ gauge cluster can access and program V-MAC IV information using a stalk-mounted control. This display also offers day and night light settings, making it easy to read regardless of ambient lighting conditions.

Beyond the Granite models, Mack introduced the new Pinnacle highway truck. Offered in a 116-in. BBC day cab configuration, the Pinnacle series has a handful of models, all built on Mack’s Advantage highway chassis.

Mack is also offering Bendix’s ABS-6 braking system equipped with its ESP vehicle stability system as an option on all of its highway models. The system provides operators with a higher level of protection against rollovers, and Bendix is hard at work on a similar system for Mack vocational vehicles as well. The system works by selectively applying the brakes on individual wheel ends, depending on driving conditions, vehicle speed and other inputs from onboard sensors, thus assisting the driver in reducing speed, keeping the vehicle in proper alignment and reducing the possibility of slide or jackknife. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this technology become standard in the near future, says Mack’s Kevin Flaherty, senior vice president, sales.


At the Sales Conference, Mack representatives added that because high fuel costs had become a huge consideration for customers, the company was actively doing research in the areas of hybrid motors and vehicles that would run on ethanol.

After its strongest sales year in history (2005 was up 35 percent over 2004) and another one presumably on the way, Mack President & CEO Paul Vikner says truck suppliers are taking a more responsible position in growth. There’s no excessive building up of production lines and investments that will only have to be shut down whenever business drops off again, he explains. To put things in perspective, a few years ago we were producing 500 trucks per day as an industry. Today, it’s more than triple that. These cyclical changes are enough to drive us crazy.

Vikner expects a fair amount of pre-buying of vehicles to happen in 2006 before the Î07 emissions regulations kick in. As a result, he says, some forecasters are expecting a major downturn (as much as 37 percent, some guess) in 2007 sales.
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