FTR Associates has released preliminary data showing November Class 8 truck net orders for all major North American OEM's totaled 26,005 units, a 38-percent increase over October and the highest monthly order level since May 2006.

November marked the fourth consecutive month over month increase in orders. Net order activity for the six-month period including November equates to an annual rate of 198,510 units. The figure includes U.S., Canada, Mexico and Exports.

Eric Starks, President of FTR says he was expecting to see a normal seasonal increase in orders to a level between 22,000 and 25,000 units. The November number came in slightly above those expectations, he says.

"This can be chalked up as a win for the industry. The fact that truckers are willing to start ordering equipment is certainly a good sign." Starks says. "It is clear that we are in a recovery period for the new truck equipment market."

Even so, Starks says he has lingering concerns over the durability of the current surge.

"We do know that leasing companies and large fleets were instrumental in pushing the orders higher. What we are not seeing are the smaller and medium size fleets participating at the levels we would normally expect during a recovery," he notes. "Until we see this group jumping back into the market we will continue to be optimistic, but with a degree of caution."

The recent numbers have not changed FTR's view on the direction of the new equipment market for 2011.

More info: FTR Associates.