FRANKFURT -- Ford Motor Co. said European car sales increased 12 percent in March, the 10th straight monthly gain, as customers snapped up small vehicles and compact SUVs.
Deliveries in Ford's 20 western and central European markets rose by 15,900 cars to 147,100, extending the first-quarter gain to 11 percent or 297,900 autos, the fourth successive quarter of sales growth, Ford said on Tuesday in a statement.
Both figures outpaced overall industry sales volumes which grew 10 percent in March and 8 percent in the first quarter, Ford said.
“Our first quarter sales results show that our plan to invest in product and launch more new vehicles – 10 alone in 2014 – is beginning to have a very positive impact with customers,” Roelant de Waard, Ford of Europe marketing chief, said in the statement.
Sales last month in the 20 European markets plus Russia and Turkey were driven by the best-selling Fiesta subcompact which sold 44,800, a rise of 4 percent, while deliveries of the Kuga compact SUV rose 32 percent to 11,000 in the same period.
The carmaker delivered 74,700 units last month in its No. 1 European market, the UK, a 13 percent gain on year-ago levels. In Germany, Ford posted a 19 percent increase, its second-largest regional market, to 21,800 autos.
Ford's money-losing European division is counting on new models and a stabilizing market to increase sales this year, after shrinking demand inflicted a 2 percent drop in 2013 deliveries.
Reuters contributed to this report