FTR Associates has released preliminary data indicating that net orders for Class 8 trucks from all major North American OEMs totaled 10,817 units in September— making it the fourth consecutive month that orders have shown a month-over-month increase.

Year-to-date orders through September are 5.2% ahead of the same period in 2008, reflecting the first year-over-year increase since June 2008. The figure includes orders for the U.S., Canada, Mexico and exports. Order activity for September represents an annualized rate of 129,804.

But Eric Starks, president of FTR, cautioned that “FTR still believes that any increases we are seeing now are partially driven by abnormal industry activity ahead of 2010 EPA emissions mandate. The data we track does not support any significant purchasing activity driven by increased freight demand any time soon. We continue to advise our clients to expect a continued soft recovery at least through 2010.”

FTR noted that final data for September will be available later in the month as part of its North American Commercial Truck & Trailer Outlook service. Contact FTR’s Helen Lile via email at hlile@ftrassociates.com or call 888-988-1699, ext. 45, for more information.