November light vehicle sales gave automakers reason to be thankful. Adjusted results were up 9.5% and November’s seasonally adjusted annualised rate (SAAR) of 13.63m was the highest since August 2009 and the best November since 2007.

Chrysler Group trumpeted a 39.6% jump with retail sales up 51%. Chrysler brand sales grew 84.5% while Jeep and Dodge sales improved by 43.8% and 37.0%, respectively.

Ford touted its retail market share which has averaged 15% over the past three months - the highest in five years. Overall sales rose just 9.1% as a solid improvement by the Ford brand was chopped down by another poor month at Lincoln. 

GM retail deliveries (ie non-fleet) increased to 77% of sales. The Sonic and Cruze continue to deliver impressive results; the US-built Sonic looks to be the small car GM wanted, but didn’t get, in the Aveo imported from Korea. But GM posted the smallest gain of the Detroit Three with sales up an adjusted 2.7%.

The Detroit automakers claimed 45.5% of the light vehicle market, up a full point from November 2010.

The Korean automakers posted sales records as new models continue to find favour with consumers. Hyundai sales rose 17% and Kia sales soared 33.6% as the duo claimed 9% of total light vehicle volume for the first 11 months of 2011.

Toyota sales returned to the positive, up 2.4% in November. The redesigned Yaris led gain with a 149.8% improvement. Lexus also improved, though it’s out of the running for leadership in the premium segment. While it stumbled in November, Scion is back in the black in YTD sales, thanks to the tC. Light truck sales continue to be a problem, down 9.8%.

American Honda came up short again; the Honda Division reported sales off 9.9% and Acura had an 11.2% deficit. Only the Pilot and Acura RL and RDX beat their November 2010 numbers.

Nissan continues on a roll: sales were up 14.6% in November and now track 15.6% ahead of 2010 in YTD sales.

Mazda sales rose 15.6% but Subaru, Mitsubishi and Suzuki missed their marks. Mitsubishi and Suzuki remain in the black in YTD sales but Subaru is down.

Overall, the Japanese automakers showed a 0.5% sales improvement in November but they have lost 3.7 points in YTD market share.

Most European brands improved: only Porsche and Saab missed their 2010 volumes. Audi came up 0.6% short, based on DSR, but set another monthly volume record. Volkswagen reported a 35.1% increase as the Passat - now US-made - continues its impressive debut.

Mercedes-Benz posted a new November sales record as it battles with BMW for supremacy in the premium segment. The difference is just 1,582 sales.

Jaguar came up short but Land Rover’s results kept the North American operation in the black.

Volvo continues to flourish with sales up 14.0%.

November’s impressive finish has renewed automakers’ hopes. A decent December will close the year with about 12.8m sales, off the early pace of 2011 but a nice recovery from the doldrums of the spring and summer.