Net orders for August have shown improvement over July figures, according to two major reporting firms.

ACT Research said that net Class 8 orders for August improved to 20,800 units while Classes 5-7 are projected to reach 12,100 units. The 5-7 figures are down slightly from last August, but ACT said that August is a particularly strong month for vehicles in these classes.

“Despite unfolding economic uncertainty, both Class 5-7 and Class 8 posted solid gains compared to July,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “While the Class 5-7 volume was down versus last year, that comparison is to one of the strongest months of 2010. When Class 8 is taken into account, total Classes 5-8 commercial vehicle net orders posted a very solid year-over-year performance.”

FTR Associates’ preliminary August numbers for Class 8 report a similar trend over July.

According to FTR, Class 8 net orders came in at 20,513 units, an 11% improvement over July. The pace of Class 8 orders for the six-month period ending August would result in 299,600 units for the year.

“Although August numbers weren't spectacular, the fact that they reversed the downward trend we had seen over the past three months gave us an indication that fleet buyers are still in the market for new vehicles,” said Eric Starks, president of FTR. “We were worried that orders might fall given the uncertainty in the economy. The current level of activity makes me breath a bit easier and suggests that fleets were not spooked into delaying orders. Going forward, orders will primarily be for 2012 build since the manufacturer order boards are basically full for the remainder of this year.”

Final August data from both firms will be available later this month.