(Bernie Woodall) - Ford Motor Co's quarterly profit beat Wall Street expectations helped by higher prices and improved sales in North America.
In North America, Ford's pre-tax profit rose 0.5 percent to $1.91 billion.
North America was the only global region where the company's profit improved. In Europe, where Ford's performance has been lagging in recent quarters, its pre-tax profit was trimmed nearly in half to $176 million.
Ford shares rose 2.3 percent in early trading on Tuesday at $13.47 per share.
The company did not alter its North American production outlook or its 2011 U.S. auto sales forecast.
Excluding one-time items, Ford's quarterly profit fell to 65 cents per share from 68 cents a year ago.
Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of 60 cents per share excluding one-time items, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 13 percent to $35.5 billion.
Net income fell to $2.4 billion in the quarter, or 59 cents per share, from $2.6 billion, or 61 cents per share.
Ford has posted eight straight quarterly net profits after recording net losses totaling $30 billion from 2006 through 2008 when it cut jobs, sold unprofitable brands and reshaped a lineup laden with large SUVs and pickup trucks.
(Additional reporting by Ben Klayman; Editing by Derek Caney)
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