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Mack Trucks market share grows

January 24, 1998

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer

Continuing its rebound to success, Mack Trucks Inc. captured 12.5 percent of the heavy duty truck market in 1997, the fifth straight year the company has posted a market share gain.

Mack Trucks, which builds its engines at a plant on Maugans Avenue in Hagerstown, said it ended the year with 22,375 in sales for the Class 8 tractor-trailer trucks it builds.

The 12.5 percent market share was an increase over the 12.1 percent market share Mack Trucks enjoyed in 1996, according to John Mies, spokesman for Mack Trucks world headquarters in Allentown, Pa.

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The numbers have steadily increased since 1993 when Mack had a 10.6 percent market share.

"By taking a larger share of a growing market in 1997, Mack further reinforced its position as the industry's third leading nameplate. The strong market expected in 1998 will give us the opportunity to continue our steady growth," said Mack President and CEO Michael Gigou.

Numbers are up at the local plant as well. Local workers went from producing 125 engines a day to 168 a day and staffing rose from about 1,200 to 1,319, Mies said.

For years, Mack had been known as the world's biggest heavy duty truck maker, controlling about 20 percent of the market share. But by 1989, that number dropped to 13 percent, and the company's worldwide work force shrank from 17,000 workers to about 6,500.

The turnaround locally started when dozens of teams of union members and plant officials sat down and came up with ways to solve the factory's problems.

Several other factors have spurred the turnaround as well, including a strong economy, Mies said. Also, Mack customers are buying trucks more frequently, Mies said.

Other high points from 1997 year:

* While the total U.S. truck market was up 5 percent, Mack's sales outpaced the industry, with 1,795 more sales than in 1996. The company increased its volume by nearly 9 percent.

* The company's Canadian subsidiary, Mack Canada Inc., increased its market share for the fourth consecutive year. Mack sold 2,771 vehicles for a 10.4 percent share of the Canadian retail market, up from 10 percent in 1996. Mack also outpaced the industry in Canada, increasing sales volumes by 33 percent in a market that was up 28 percent.

* Mack's major overseas subsidiary, Mack Trucks Australia Pty. Ltd., increased sales by 3 percent. That represented 15.3 percent of the Australian market, compared to 17.8 percent in 1996.

* Year-end figures for industry exports are not yet available, but Mack exported 2,851 trucks in 1997, and through October was North America's second leading exporter, with 23.3 percent of the market, company official said.

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