DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- Ford ( F) said its first-quarter net income soared, reflecting strong response to its new vehicles, adding it expects to deliver solid profits in 2010.

Excluding items, the automaker said its pretax operating profit was $2 billion, or 46 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated 31 cents. Revenue rose 15% to $28.1 billion; analysts had estimated $30.4 billion.

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In the same quarter a year earlier, excluding items, the pretax loss was $2 billion, or 75 cents a share. Ford's pretax profit was its highest quarterly pretax operating profit in six years and represented a $4 billion improvement from a year earlier.

Including items, net income was $2.1 billion, or 50 cents a share.

"The Ford team around the world achieved another very solid quarter, and we are delivering profitable growth," said CEO Alan Mulally, in a prepared statement. "Our plan is working, and the basic engine that drives our business results -- products, market share, revenue and cost structure -- is performing stronger each quarter, even as the economy and vehicle demand remain relatively soft."

Looking ahead, Mulally said, ""We remain cautiously optimistic about positive signs emerging in the global economy, while knowing that the recovery is fragile and the global auto industry continues to deal with excess capacity. "

The company anticipates the industry will post North American vehicle sales of 11.2 million during 2010.

During the quarter, Ford increased U.S. market share by 2.7 points to 16.6% and a 14.1 % share of the retail market, fueled by strong sales of Fusion, F-150, Taurus and Focus. Ford operations in South America, Europe and Asia Pacific/Africa as well as Ford Credit posted pretax operating profits in the first quarter and improved results over the same period in 2009.

Ford ended the quarter with $25.3 billion in automotive gross cash and $34.3 billion in automotive debt.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. .

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