Ford Motor Co., fueled by growth in Russia and Turkey, increased 2011 sales in Europe, surmounting economic challenges. Ford sold 1.58 million vehicles, up 2.4 percent, in 51 countries, including emerging markets such as Russia, Romania and Turkey.
In the traditional 19 European markets, Ford's 2011 sales fell 1.3 percent and its share declined to 8.3 percent from 8.4 percent in 2010, Ford said in a statement on its Web site on Friday.
Economic headwinds amid the sovereign debt crisis pushed down industrywide auto sales by 0.2 percent to 15.3 million in the 19 traditional markets, Ford said.
The automaker on Jan. 4 forecast auto sales in that region will fall to 14 million to 15 million this year. A marketing push in Germany helped to boost Ford's share there to 7.4 percent in 2011 from 6.9 percent.
"We made solid inroads, particularly in growth markets such as Russia, Turkey and eastern Europe, and in Europe's largest market, Germany," Roelant de Waard, Ford's European marketing chief, said in a statement. "This is a very good sign."
Ford wants to replicate in Germany what the company achieved in the U.S. by using fuel economy and technology such as voice-activated stereos to command higher prices from vehicle buyers.
The company's vehicle sales in Germany for 2011 rose 18 percent, Ford said.