(Corrects ninth paragraph to reflect sales ranking in November, not September)
SAO PAULO, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Automobile production and sales in Brazil slipped in November, suggesting the usual acceleration in year-end demand was not enough to save the market from its biggest drop in 15 years.
Auto output fell 9.7 percent and sales slipped 4 percent in November from October, Brazil’s automakers association, Anfavea, said on Thursday, principally because there were three fewer working days in the month.
Average daily sales rose to nearly 15,000 vehicles, the fastest pace of the year, as year-end promotions heated up demand. However, November sales still slipped 3 percent from a year earlier as tighter credit and weak consumer confidence continued to drag on the market.
Sales so far this year have fallen more than 8 percent from the same period of 2013, while production is down nearly 15 percent, on track for the worst year since at least 1999.
Unsold inventory at show rooms and factory lots grew to more than 414,000 vehicles in November, the highest in 2014, and payrolls in the industry shrank 7 percent from a year earlier.
The auto industry, which contributes a quarter of Brazil’s industrial production, has become a persistent headache for recently re-elected President Dilma Rousseff. Targeted stimulus since 2012 gave sales a temporary boost, but it has proven tough to wean companies off the tax breaks.
Rousseff’s incoming finance minister is now looking at restoring several tax rates to bolster government finances, but auto executives are arguing for another extension of what were once emergency measures.
Brazil is one of the world’s five biggest auto markets and a major base of operations for Italy’s Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Germany’s Volkswagen AG and U.S.-based General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co.
Fiat remained Brazil’s top seller of cars and light trucks in November, with over 54,900 new registrations, and GM took a close second place, selling about 51,100 passenger vehicles. VW’s sales fell sharply to just below 43,900 cars and light trucks. Ford sold around 28,200 vehicles.
Overall, automakers in Brazil produced about 264,800 new cars, trucks and buses last month, while sales totaled around 294,700 vehicles, according to data released by Anfavea. (Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr and Brad Haynes; Additional reporting by Caroline Stauffer. Editing by Andre Grenon)