Mack's Randall says 2024 truck sales could exceed expectations

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Updated Jan 26, 2024
Mack's Jonathan Randall speaks at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue
Mack Trucks' President Jonathan Randall speaks at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue Monday in Grapevine, Texas, ahead of HDAW.

The strength of 2023 truck sales could make 2024 a better year than initially expected, Mack Trucks’ President Jonathan Randall told suppliers Monday at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue, presented by MEMA and MacKay & Company, in Grapevine, Texas.

Kicking off the dialogue event and preceding Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW), Randall shared why Mack is optimistic for the year ahead, and also stressed how important OEM supplier partners will be in the future of the trucking industry.

Randall said Mack’s data indicates the 2023 Class 8 market was 330,849 units in the United States and Canada, and estimates the 2024 market will be only slightly smaller at 290,000 units. Randall said Mack believes the long-haul market will be the main driver of the downturn, but said other segments such as straight trucks (where Mack has a larger market share) will likely pick up some of that slack.

[RELATED: Flat freight market keeps dealers’ expectations low for 2024]

In the medium-duty market, Randall said Mack is even expecting an uptick, from 109,500 to 115,000 units in the United States and Canada. When asked by moderator John Blodgett of MacKay & Company as to why Mack’s estimates for both markets are slightly higher than other numbers floated across the industry, Randall referenced how orders are being received.

Randall said pre-pandemic, between 30-40% of heavy- and medium-duty truck orders placed by dealers were placed without a customer allocated to the unit. He said the dealers generally knew which customers in their market would be needing trucks that year — even if the customers hadn’t ordered them — and ordered them in advance to have them on site.

That’s not the case anymore. Randall said 94% of orders Mack received in the Class 8 market in 2023 were allocated to a fleet when ordered. In the medium-duty space that was 85% percent. In both cases, Randall said their dealers also knew who would need the other trucks they had requested and Mack expects that to continue in 2024 and beyond.

“[In 2023], the customers wanted more than we were able to deliver,” he said.

“Customers have learned they need to plan further out” regarding their future purchasing needs, he added.

[RELATED: MEMA's 'Chasing the Aftermarket' showcases benefits of business intelligence tools]

Randall also spoke positively of Mack’s supplier partners and how vital they will be in helping the continued transformation of the trucking sector. And the sector is absolutely transforming, Randall said. Electrification and zero emissions, autonomy and connectivity are revolutionizing how trucks are built, marketed and sold. Randall said when he entered the truck sales world in 1995, the sale was the truck. The unit itself. He said now and moving forward, OEMs and dealers aren’t just selling the unit but all the services and solutions that are required to maximize the value of the asset.

“We all love our iron, but iron is only a piece of the equation now,” he said.

Randall added Mack suppliers should view the OEM as a “strong business partner that communicates transparently, negotiates based on facts and principles, while collaborating to strengthen relationships and create value for your businesses.”

He said committing to that will help the OEM and its entire supplier partner base provide the best possible service experience for customers.

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