By most accounts, Ford had a pretty good first quarter. Sales were up 37 percent versus the first three months of 2009, and The Blue Oval's market share rose an impressive 2.7 percentage points during the period. According to a report in USA Today, Ford President Mark Fields says that the extra showroom traffic led to added revenue for the company. And while added revenue doesn't always translate into increased profits, the extra cash generated by increased sales makes an "in the black" first quarter far more likely. If Ford does manage a profit in the first quarter, it would mark the fourth consecutive period of cash gains for the Dearborn, MI-based automaker. Impressive, considering Ford lost nearly $15 billion in 2008.

The sales gains at Ford were realized mostly from the sale of Blue Oval-badged cars, trucks and crossovers. Lincoln and Mercury didn't see much in the way of gains, but USA Today quotes Ford analyst George Pipas as saying most of the marketing money was spent on Ford, adding "If we were going to fix the business, we had to fix the Ford brand, because that's where we had the best chance of getting a return."

The Ford vehicle that realized the most gains in the first quarter was the Fusion. Ford's mid-size sedan saw an 81 percent increase in sales compared to the first three months of 2009. Ford also increased its share of the pickup truck market. The profit-rich F-Series increased its overall share of the truck market to 38.5 percent, up 5.3 percent year-over-year. Ford is expected to announce official first quarter earnings later in the month.

[Source: USA Today | Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty]