Ford sees best profit in 13 years on green car sales

Ford F-150 trucks Ford said the 2011 outlook was good despite higher commodity costs

Ford has unveiled its strongest first quarter profits for 13 years, helped by increasing demand for more fuel-efficient cars.

Profits rose to $2.55bn (£1.54bn; 1.75bn euros) in the first three months of 2011, compared with $2.09bn at the same period the year before.

"Our team delivered a great quarter, with solid growth in all regions," said Ford president Alan Mulally.

Ford said the 2011 outlook was good, despite higher commodity costs.

Revenue for the first quarter was $33.1bn, up from $28.1bn a year earlier.

The firm said it had seen a strong performance in its home North American market, as well as "solid improvement" in Europe.

US sales were up 16%, while market share in the Asia Pacific and Africa regions also increased, the carmaker said.

Rising market share

Ford said it was confident sales would keep rising "despite uncertain economic conditions".

"We expect our annual volumes to continue to grow substantially," said Mr Mulally.

Ford also said that last month's earthquake in Japan had "minimal" impact on its business.

Some analysts said the carmaker could actually take business away from Japanese rivals.

"I think Ford and a lot of the other American automakers will take market share from the Japanese," said Channing Smith at Capital Advisors.

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