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April 26, 2011 8:45 AM, EDT

Ford Reports Best 1Q Since 1998

Ford Motor Co.’s first-quarter profit rose 22% to the highest level in 13 years, the company said Tuesday.

Net income rose to $2.55 billion, from $2.09 billion a year ago, the No. 2 U.S. automaker said in a statement. Sales rose 4.7% to $33.1 billion, following last year’s sale of Volvo cars.

CEO Alan Mulally put the company’s focus on fuel economy and raised U.S. prices twice this year as the cost of gasoline has risen 26%, Bloomberg reported.

Consumers paid $900 million more worldwide for Ford’s vehicles in the quarter than a year ago, Bloomberg said.

Ford “introduced new cargo truck in Brazil, representing our commitment to competitiveness in a critical segment in South America” and said it “expects U.S. full-year industry volume will be in the range of 13 million to 13.5 million units and, for the 19 markets Ford tracks in Europe, in the range of 14.5 million to 15.5 million units, including medium and heavy trucks.”