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North American truck orders more than double in October

DETROIT, Nov 2 (Reuters) - North American orders for Class 8 semi-trucks more than doubled in October compared with the same period in 2016, and strong orders should continue to bolster truck production into 2018, FTR, a company that tracks the industry, said on Thursday.

Preliminary truck orders for October hit 35,700, up significantly from 13,674 in October 2016, according to FTR.

“The market continues to follow our expectations and highlights that the market fundamentals remain solid as we approach 2018,” said Jonathan Starks, FTR’s chief operating officer.

October marks the fifth consecutive month of rising truck orders. Truck orders slumped in 2017 amid high inventory levels and truck companies’ concerns over the state of the economy.

Class 8 semi-trucks are the big rigs that haul most U.S. freight down the country’s highways.

Truck order growth in 2018 could be fueled by a federal mandate that truck firms switch to electronic logs (ELDs) from paper logs next month. Experts predict many smaller truck firms that fudge the books in order to stay profitable in a low-margin industry will close up shop, benefiting larger companies and driving up demand for new vehicles.

FTR said October’s order growth was not evenly spread among all truck manufacturers.

The main truck makers in the U.S. market are Daimler AG , Navistar International Corp, PACCAR Inc and Volvo AB. (Reporting by Nick Carey; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)