Global vehicle sales rose 5.6% in September to 7.26 million units, aided by gains in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and South America. This was the largest year-over-year increase for the world since January.

Deliveries in the Asia-Pacific region accounted for 45.9% of global results in September, up 2.3 percentage points from year-ago, and up 3.4 points from August. Sales rose 11.2% in the month to 3.3 million units, led by gains in both China and Japan.

China sales surged 19.4% over like-2012 with 1.9 million vehicles delivered, the largest year-over-year gain since January’s 52% jump. This sharp increase likely was driven by a rebound by Japanese automakers, whose sales plummeted last summer following a territorial dispute that led to significant consumer backlash.

Japan, the region’s second-largest market behind China, posted its first monthly increase since April, with sales up 17.0% over year-ago.

Europe also saw an increase in deliveries in September, up 3.2% to 1.8 million units, the largest year-on-year increase since September 2011.

The U.K. (up 12.2%), Spain (up 28.1%), France (up 2.3%) and several smaller markets recorded positive growth in September, overshadowing year-over-year declines in Germany, Russia and Italy, down 0.7%, 5.1% and 3.1%, respectively.

In September, Europe claimed a 24.4% share of the global market, second to the Asia-Pacific region.

Following a 3-month string of declines, South America rose 9.1% in September, with 502,000 vehicles sold.

Although recording the lowest monthly volume since March, Brazil posted a solid 7.9% gain from like-2012, the first year-over-year increase since May. Argentina rose as well, up 29.9% from year-ago to 85,300 units.

In North America, sales dropped 3.1% to 1.4 million units, accounting for 19.2% of global results. This was the first year-over-year decline for the region since May 2011, when deliveries fell 2.3%, and the largest decline since August 2010 saw a drop of 17.2%.

Increased sales in Canada (3.6%) were not enough to offset downturns in the U.S. (4.0%) and Mexico (2.7%). The drop seen in the U.S. was due in part to having two fewer selling days than September 2012, as well as the inclusion of the Labor Day weekend in August sales. Mexico also saw fewer selling days in September, coupled with heavy flooding from two tropical storms in the Gulf Coast.

Through September, 63.7 million vehicles were delivered worldwide, up 3.6% from like-2012.

hrowe@wardsauto.com