Mack Trucks’ new president, Martin “Marty” Weissburg, stopped by the Mack Customer Care Center in Allentown on Monday afternoon to introduce himself to the national trucking and local media.
Calling his new position “his dream job,” Weissburg said he has been lucky coming to the job as Mack enters into a period of great growth, with its new Anthem truck series.
“When the Mack job became available, I quickly put my hand up,” he said.
Weissburg took over June 1 for the retiring Dennis Slagle, saying he had been working alongside Slagle since the start of the year. Weissburg he said he’s been impressed with Mack manufacturing operations in Upper Macungie Township and the success it is seeing with its Lehigh Valley-made Anthem trucks.
Weissburg is no stranger to the transportation industry. He is a member of the Volvo Group Executive Board and the senior Volvo Group Executive in North America. Mack Trucks is part of the Swedish-based Volvo Group.
“My whole career has been with truck and construction vehicles,” said Weissburg, based at Mack’s U.S. headquarters in Greensboro, N.C.
Most recently, Weissburg was president of Volvo Construction Equipment in Europe, which had 2017 sales of around $8 billion.
“It’s a dream job for a career in the heavy truck construction vehicle industry. It’s the cherry on top,” he said of his new role. “To be able to join now as a leader of this iconic brand is really a wonderful opportunity for me.”
‘STAR OF OUR LINEUP’
Weissburg credits the success of the company’s new Anthem line as driving up Mack’s market share in the long-haul truck market.
“It’s already the star of our lineup,” he said.
He called the Anthem “a driver’s truck,” which is built with driver comfort in mind.
At a time when the transportation industry is suffering from a lack of qualified drivers, companies are adding Anthems to their fleet as incentives to get drivers to come work for them, Weissburg said.
“Demand is super high. The timing is right,” he said.
While Weissburg declined to give numbers, he said Anthem sales so far in 2018 already are two times what they were for all of 2017.
A concern with the success of the truck is keeping up with demand, he said, adding there is a backlog on orders, primarily because of parts issues from suppliers.
While many of the players in the transportation industry are aggressively going after electric vehicle technology, that’s not the bulk of Mack’s focus.
It has some projects in the pipeline, Weissburg said, noting a pilot project with garbage trucks in New York City.
But he said any widespread commercialization of such vehicles is still a way off.
The focus is on the company’s software, Mack Connect, which aims to reduce downtime and improve servicing of the vehicles.
Weissburg called reducing downtime a top priority of his customers.
“We view any truck down as a crisis,” he said.
The goal of the software is to have over-the-air updates of software without a truck having to stop at a repair center.
Instead, updates can be scheduled while a driver is having lunch or sleeping.
With production at an all-time high, Weissburg reiterated the company’s commitment to its Lehigh Valley operations.
“All our truck manufacturing is done here,” he said.
Weissburg noted the company has invested more than $84 million in upgrading the Mack Lehigh Valley Operations in Lower Macungie the last few years.
And while he said the facility is running very efficiently, Mack plans to stay ahead of the curve and continue to invest in upgrades, he said, declining to give specifics on cost and timing.
“It’s not if, but when do we spend more money, because you need to keep state-of-the-art facilities,” he said.
Weissburg said there’s no doubt that the company is at the top of its game in 2018. But he said the trucking industry is cyclical and he knows he has to be able to manage the company down as well as up.
His goal, he said, is to keep the company on a growth trajectory as long as possible. To do that, he said, his focus is to maintain the culture and quality that are giving the company its pattern of growth and to keep an eye on where the market is heading.
Volvo Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines. Last year, Volvo Group had sales of about $39 billion.