Ford Motor Company (F 1.08%) said that its sales in Europe rose 7.7% in the first quarter from a year ago, and 70.6% in March, a year after the initial coronavirus outbreak idled most of its factories in the region.
In the first three months of 2021, Ford sold almost 260,000 vehicles in the 20 European countries that account for most of its sales. Ford's aggregate share of the market in those 20 countries was 7.2% in the first quarter, up from 6.9% in the first quarter of 2020.
Ford's 7.7% first-quarter gain outpaced the overall market's rebound. Overall registrations of new passenger vehicles in the European Union rose 3.2% from the first quarter of 2019, and were up 87.3% in March, according to figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.
Commercial vehicles, a strong category for Ford globally and a key priority of CEO Jim Farley's turnaround plan for Europe, continued to shine for the Blue Oval in the first quarter. Ford sold about 121,000 commercial vehicles in Europe in the period, up 33% from a year ago and enough to maintain its market-share leadership in the region.
Ford's commercial-vehicle sales were paced by the midsize Transit Custom van, with nearly 39,000 sold in the quarter -- making it the company's second-best-seller in Europe, after the small Puma crossover SUV.
Ford will report its first-quarter earnings after the U.S. markets close on Wednesday, April 28.