Analysis

Global auto makers enjoyed their third-best month of the year in November, delivering 6.37 million vehicles, up 3% from October and 13.4% over year-ago.

This marks the second month of double-digit growth in the past three months, after year-over-year comparisons bottomed out at 3.4% in August.

The recent gains, while significantly lower than the first-quarter 27% growth rate, are higher than third-quarter’s 6.3%, indicating a new, albeit less dynamic sales surge is under way.

World vehicle sales through November tallied 67.9 million units, 14.9% above year-ago and on track to finish the year within shouting distance of 75 million units, some 10 million better than 2009.

November saw year-over-year increases in all sales regions, the first time that’s been true since March.

Europe posted a 5.4% hike over like-2009, after four straight months of declines, leaving the region’s year-to-date total at 17.7 million units, 0.3% ahead of year-ago.

Germany, the region’s largest market, set the tone with a 5.4% increase over year-ago. This is a marked contrast to its year-to-date decline of nearly 23%, compared with like-2009.

Related document: World Vehicle Sales Summary

In Asia, where growth rates peaked at 73% in January, sales have stabilized in the 14% - 15% range, with November posting a 14.4% jump over prior-year.

Buoyed by enormous first-half sales hikes, Asia’s year-to-date deliveries of 29.4 million units are tracking 27.5% ahead of like-2009.

China, the world’s largest market since 2009, tallied 26.7% of global sales in November. Through the first 11 months of 2010, the nation has accounted for nearly one of every new-vehicle delivery worldwide.

Asia’s overall market share for the month was 44.4%, besting its 43.3% year-to-date take.

In North America, large gains boosted the region’s November sales 16.3%, compared with year-ago, for a total of 12.8 million units through the first 11 months, marking a 10.5% gain on like-2009.

Historically, November is a slow month for the region, which captured 17% of the global market, down nearly two points from October.

South America saw November sales climb 24.7% over year-ago. The region’s largest market, Brazil, recorded a 17.7% jump after several months of year-over-year declines.

The region is on track to sell 5.3 million vehicles in 2010, which would represent a 9.3% improvement over 2009.

South America accounted for 7.6% of global vehicle sales in November, well above its year-to-date share of 6.9%.

jsousanis@wardsauto.com