Jeep eclipsed Chrysler-stablemate Dodge as the auto maker’s top-selling brand in the U.S. for November.

It was the second consecutive month Jeep earned this distinction and the third time this year.

The intrepid brand that marks its 70th anniversary this year chalked up a 43.8% year-over-year gain with 36,246 November sales. As a positive harbinger for Chrysler’s bottom line, the brand’s flagship Grand Cherokee accounted for most of that total, 37.4%, with 13,545 deliveries.

The impact of Jeep’s November performance is seen in Chrysler’s 39.8% year-over-year sales jump, besting prior-month’s 31.7% increase – the auto maker’s previous high, according to WardsAuto data.

Chrysler recorded 106,679 deliveries in November, propelling its 11-month total to 1,224,476 sales, a 25% improvement over like-2010.

While Jeep’s showing underscores its importance to Chrysler, the sales result also bodes well for the auto maker’s global growth strategy, which leverages the strengths of Italy-based partner Fiat and its sporty Alfa Romeo brand.

Sergio Marchionne, who heads both Fiat and Chrysler, said earlier this year: “We’re relying especially on the Jeep brand as being, together with Alfa and Fiat, the drivers of that growth.”

Dodge racked up 30,317 sales in November, largely due to 5,643 Avenger midsize sedan deliveries, a 93.5% jump compared with like-2010, and some 4,000 Durango units that were incremental because the midsize SUV was added to Chrysler’s lineup for ’11.

An 8,065-unit month by the Avenger platform-mate Chrysler 200 combined with 2,066 Chrysler 300 fullsize car sales to offset the core brand’s 5.4% shortfall in Town & Country minivan deliveries.

However, all is not perfect in the U.S. market for Chrysler and Fiat. Dealers recorded 1,618 Fiat 500 sales in November, their lowest monthly total since April, when they moved 882 units.

The minicar was launched in the U.S. in March after a celebrated introduction in Europe.

Laura Soave was replaced in mid-November as Fiat’s North American chief. Longtime Chrysler executive Timothy Kuniskis now leads the brand.

emayne@wardsauto.com