Bearing in mind that year on year comparisons are now against the latter months of last year when US industry volume were tanking due to the summer fuel price spike and the credit crisis, November's light vehicle sales, adjusted for selling days, were up 8.9% to 744,669 units, according to WardsAuto.com data.

Year to date volume was off, however - 23.8% to 9,375,624 versus 12,303,321 after 11 months of 2008.

The three Detroit automakers collectively were up 1.5% to 335,064 units last month, reflecting black ink on sales analysts' spreadsheets at GM (+6.7% to 150,705 units) and Ford (+9.6%; 121,334) but red digits across at Chrysler (-19.3%; 62,992). New CEO Marchionne has recently announced plans to address that, however.

Year to date, the Detroit automakers were down 29.1% to 4,181,343 with individual falls ranging 18.3% (Ford) to 38.1% (Chrysler). GM was off 31.8%.

In import land, Asian brands were up a healthy 16.2% to 349,152 in November, beating the Detroit Three on both unit volume and growth. YTD volume was down 19.3% to 4,507,363 cars and 'light trucks'.

The Germans, too, were up, by 8.9% to 60,453. YTD? Off 16.2% to 686,918.

Against the lower base of November 2008, Hyundai's US sales soared 58.6% to 28,047 while affiliate Kia, just ramping up its first North American assembly plant, managed a 28.5% hike to 17,955. Both were also up YTD, Hyundai by 6.2% to 401,267 units and Kia at +7.8% and 279,015.

Turning to the bigger fish, Toyota's 133,700 (+11.5%) was second last month only to GM but it remained top seller year to date at 1,582,289 (down 23.8%).

Honda was up 5.5% last month with 74,003 sales (-22.3% to 1,043,641YRD), and Nissan was up 31.2% to 56,288 in November, and down 21.7% to 696,699 YTD.

It was win-some-lose-some at Porsche which, reflecting its recent slew of new or updated models, was up 28.3% to 1,626 units last month (but down the most amongst the Europeans at -26.4% to 17,578 YTD).

Volkswagen's November sales rose 18.9% to 23,060 (-6.6%; 266,753 YTD); Daimler was up in November (+18.8%; 17,495) and down YTD (-19.4%; 184,477) and BMW up just 0.5% to 18,272 for the month and off 22.5% to 218,110 for the year so far.

That, today's Financial Times Deutschland said, was due mainly to a drop in Mini deliveries by almost 44% year on year to 2,564 units though sales of the core BMW brand, however, posted annual growth of 3.2% to 15,708.

The individual model pecking order remained unchanged - as usual - with Ford's perennial F-series at the top (365,416 units year to date) followed by the Toyota Camry (321,878) and the F-series' arch-rival, Chevy's Silverado (283,243).

Top Detroit car line this year so far? Ford's Fusion - currently sixth with 161,819 sales.