Ford of Europe achieved a pre-tax profit of $739 million, up from $219 million a year ago. Ford said the improvement was due to a reduction in costs and better pricing.
Ford of Europe’s sales rose to $10.2 billion from $8.6 billion.
Ford’s Swedish unit Volvo slipped into the red with a pretax loss of $151 million compared with a $94 million profit in the first quarter 2007.
Volvo’s first quarter sales dipped to $4.2 billion compared with $4.6 billion last year.
The decline was blamed on falling sales and poorer mix of sales, as well as currency fluctuations.
Ford’s South American operations achieved a pretax profit of $257 million, up from $113 million a year ago.
In North America, Ford cut its pretax loss to $45 million, compared with a loss of $613 million a year ago.
“The results of this quarter are encouraging, particularly our outstanding performance in Europe and South America,” said Ford CEO Alan Mulally.
Mulally said: “In the past several years, we have substantially restructured these businesses. We believe this is an indication that our efforts to leverage Ford's global assets across the world will bear fruit. Going forward, we remain committed to our key business objectives, including our goal of reaching North America and overall Automotive profitability in 2009, despite the challenging economic conditions."