Class 8 total net orders for all major North American OEMs totaled 8,594 units in March, up 26 percent from February, according to preliminary data released by FTR Associates.

While March 2009 Class 8 preliminary orders were up month over month, they were 44 percent below March 2008. Orders for the first quarter of 2009 reflect an annualized rate of 92,772 units.

"We did see an increase in orders in March, which is of course positive news following the very low numbers which came in for January and February," said Eric Starks, president of FTR Associates. "However, the annualized rate of incoming Class 8 orders through March is still dismal. FTR does not see a sustainable rebound in Class 8 order activity for the foreseeable future. The industry and economic environment just don't support increased fleet equipment purchases."

The figure includes orders for the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Exports.