Although car shoppers are still few and far between, the November figures show that the industry is stabilizing. Although there’s no aut0-specific exchange traded fund (ETF), there are ways to play a recovery in the sector.

Car sales were flat last month as the 746,928 cars and light trucks sold in the United States amounted to just 139 more than the number sold in the same month last year, according to figures compiled by research firm Autodata Corp. Martin Zimmerman for The Los Angeles Times reports that among the major U.S. automakers, Ford saw sales slip fractionally last month from November 2008, and General Motors Co. saw year-over-year sales fall 1.5%. Chrysler Group sales sank 25.5%. (Why base metals are rebounding).

Among the Big Three Japanese automakers, sales rose 2.6% at Toyota Motor Corp. and 20.8% at Nissan, a gain fueled in part by strong sales of Nissan’s Altima sedan and Versa compact. Sales fell 2.9% at Honda Motor Co. As the unemployment rate remains high, it could make recovery in the sector sluggish. But watch the ETFs below for any reflection of an uptick in activity in autos. (Basic materials: The next superstars?)

For more stories about basic materials, visit our basic materials category.

  • iPath Dow Jones AIG Copper TR Sub-Index ETN (NYSEArca: JJC): up 126.9% year-to-date; used in wiring.

  • E-TRACs UBS Long Platinum ETN (NYSEArca: PTM): up 72% year-to-date; used in catalytic converters

  • Market Vectors Steel (NYSEArca: SLX): up 103.1% year-to-date; steel used in bodies

  • PowerShares Global Steel (NYSEArca: PSTL): up 63.3% year-to-date

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.