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If auto makers sell 130,385 cars, crossovers and trucks in December, the annual record of 1.9 million will be broken.Jeff McIntosh/The Globe and Mail

Vehicle sales rolled to another record in November and could top the 1.9 million annual level in Canada for the first time if December deliveries come close to those of a year ago.

Auto makers in Canada reported deliveries of 145,426 in November, up 5 per cent from 138,854 in November, 2015, and the highest November sales on record. The last time monthly vehicle sales fell on a year-over-year basis was March, 2013.

One of the strongest of those 32 months was December, 2014, when auto makers sold 131,400 vehicles. If they sell 130,385 cars, crossovers and trucks this month, the 1.9 million barrier will be broken.

"The seasonally adjusted annual rate for November was 1.96 million, the highest on record for any November … and not by a little bit, but by a lot," DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. said. Sales were about 200,000 units higher last month than in any previous November on a SAAR basis, the consulting firm said in a note to clients.

Another trend that continued last month was the decline in market share held by passenger cars. The share held by cars dropped to 38.1 per cent last month from 41.6 per cent a year earlier amid the steady rise in sales of crossovers, which are counted on the truck side of the ledger.

Several auto makers reported record monthly totals, including Porsche Cars Canada Ltd. and the Infiniti luxury division of Nissan Canada Inc.

Among those whose sales fell was Volkswagen Canada Inc.

Deliveries fell 5.5 per cent in November amid the crisis the auto maker is facing after its diesel-engine-equipped vehicles were found to have devices that allowed them to cheat on emissions tests. That was a better performance than its U.S. counterpart, which posted a 25-per-cent decline.

The continuing crisis led Standard & Poor's Ratings Services to downgrade the credit rating of parent Volkswagen AG on Tuesday.

"In our view, these events have tarnished VW's reputation and brand perception and will negatively affect the group's market position and competitive advantage," S&P said in a statement. "In addition, we consider that VW's cost structure may not be sufficiently flexible to fully adjust its expenses in a timely manner."

The U.S. market is also booming as Thanksgiving weekend deals buoyed sales south of the border.

Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. said their estimates showed the U.S. SAAR topped 18 million last month for the third successive month.

Consumer confidence rose, the unemployment rate fell and personal disposable income increased, Ford officials said on a conference call with analysts and reporters.

Still, to keep the momentum going, Ford will offer five-year interest-free loans and $1,000 (U.S.) in rebates on select models this month, Mark LaNeve, Ford's vice-president of U.S. marketing sales and service, said on the call.

After the strong November, the U.S. market is likely to break the annual record set in 2000. That year, Americans bought 17.34 million light vehicles.

"There is still pent-up demand, which is the underlying force behind the strong sales and you couldn't turn on the radio or TV without hearing about some sales incentives," said Karl Brauer, an analyst with vehicle research firm Kelley Blue Book Co.

With files from Bloomberg