Preliminary Class 8 net truck orders for March came in at 27,139, the fourth straight month of solid order activity, FTR said.

The December 2013 through March 2014 is the best four-month period since 2006 and the past 14 months have each shown a year-over-year improvement with totals for the first quarter of 2014 at 35% above the first quarter of 2013, the firm said.

The past six months have seen Class 8 order activity reach 337,000 units on an annualized rate.

“This is a great order total for the month of March,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles. “The market is maintaining strength and confirms we are in a solid growth cycle.  OEM’s are expected to increase build rates in response to their growing backlog.”

Final data for March will be available from FTR later in the month as part of its North American Commercial Truck & Trailer Outlook service.