Nissan Motor Co <7201.T> and Volkswagen AG posted double-digit percentage gains in November U.S. sales, a strong showing for a month analysts were expecting to set a more than two-year record overall.

General Motors Co posted a sales gain of 7 percent for November, boosted by sales of profitable pickup trucks, vans and SUVs, although its overall tally fell short of some analyst forecasts.

The three automakers were the first to report monthly U.S. sales results, one of the earliest snapshots of consumer demand.

Sales for Volkswagen AG, the No. 9 automaker in the U.S. market, were up almost 41 percent. Sales for Nissan, the No. 6 automaker in the market, were up 19 percent.

Analysts have forecast industrywide sales of 13.4 million vehicles for the month. That would mark the highest annualized rate since August 2009, when the U.S. government launched its cash for clunkers rebate program.

If projections hold, November would also be the third straight month that annualized vehicle sales have topped the 13 million level.

GM's sales of small and compact cars, including the Chevrolet Cruze, rose 54 percent from a year earlier. Overall passenger car sales were up 1 percent, while sales of its trucks gained 25 percent for the top U.S. automaker.

We are seeing a broad spectrum of customers return to the market, Don Johnson, GM's head of U.S. sales said in a statement.

U.S. auto sales have been trending higher since June, despite the still-weak employment and housing markets.

Jonathan Browning, the head of VW in the United States, said that auto sales were being lifted by improved consumer confidence, low interest rates and higher trade-in values for used cars.

I actually don't see a disconnect, Browning said. We do see some positive movements in overall consumer confidence.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman and Bernie Woodall; Writing by Kevin Krolicki; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)