Last month’s preliminary total was the fourth-highest ever and the third consecutive month above the 40,000 mark, ACT said.
December’s total compared with 31,736 orders placed during the same month in 2013. It also rose 7% from the 40,925 orders placed in November.
Truck makers received a net total of 380,030 orders in 2014, the most in a decade and second only to the 390,165 units recorded in 2004, ACT said.
The 2014 tally was up 42% from 267,719 in the previous year.
ACT Vice President Steve Tam estimated that the industry’s order backlog grew by about 20,000 units last month to end the year at 171,000 units.
That backlog represents roughly half of ACT’s Class 8 production outlook for 2015, which currently stands at 340,000.
If that projection comes to fruition, it would mean that about half of the trucks that will be built during the coming year already have been ordered.