Class 8 orders ended 2011 with the second-best month in six years as net orders rose to 30,293 units, according to the State of the Industry report released by ACT Research Co. (ACT).

When seasonally adjusted, December’s orders were the best since April and resumed the stronger order trend that has been observed since August.

Meanwhile, demand for medium-duty vehicles remained a study in consistency: There were only 3,000 units separating the best and worst order months of 2011, with December falling in the middle of the range.

“We think November’s drop in Class 8 orders was circumstantial, rather than fundamentally derived,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT. “Part of the order drop in November was a significant spike in cancellations. To that end, part of December’s net order strength was a plunge in cancellations to their second-lowest level in 2011.”

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