September Class 8 net orders for all major North American OEMs improved over August, the fourth straight month over month boost
, according to a report by FTR Associates. September orders landed at 10,817 units, which includes orders for the U.S., Canada, Mexico and exports.

The year-to-date orders through September 2009 are up 5.2 percent from the year-ago period, the first year over year increase since June 2008. The September numbers brings the annualized rate to 129,804 units.

"FTR still believes that any increases we are seeing now are partially driven by abnormal industry activity ahead of 2010 EPA emissions mandate," said Eric Starks, president of FTR. "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."

Meanwhile, a Merrill Lynch Machinery Research investor e-mail discussing ACT Research's September truck order statistics reported a similar boost, with the 11,000 orders representing a 2.4 percent boost from August's 10,744 units ordered, and a 4.1 percent year-over-year improvement. With September's numbers, the seasonally adjusted annual rate is 142,358 units.

According to Merrill, September's Class 8 orders were higher than the 12-month trailing average of 9,022 units, but lower than Merrill Lynch's forecast of 12,000 units.

The medium-duty truck market saw an uptick in September as well, with preliminary net orders for Class 5-7 at 12,100 units, up 11.9 percent from August. The seasonally adjusted annual rate for medium-duty is 137,379 units. The preliminary figures indicate an 18.1 percent year-over-year gain. The September medium-duty orders were higher than the 12-month trailing average of 7,474 units.