Lewis Booth, Ford CFO, said the company is trying to solve supply shortages rocking its rivals in the wake of the massive Japanese quake and tsunami. "If we see opportunities, we'll try to provide cars to our customers," Booth said on April 26.

Booth said it's still too early to project how much of a market share boost Ford will post this year as a result of the major production cuts at Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi. "We're not giving any projection on that because it is still unclear how much production will be available from our competitors," Booth said.

"In North America, our local dealers just became aware this weekend about how restricted the production in Japan may be, so we haven't seen any change in market activity until now."

While Ford's Asian operations have taken a hit from the parts shortage, the automaker said the shortages will not have a "material impact" on its overall results and that the first quarter impacts were "minimal."

It also announced plans to boost second quarter production by about 12,000 units from a year ago to about 1.5 million vehicles.

Booth said sales were "running pretty well" in Ford's major global markets and global growth continues despite "the problems in Japan, higher oil prices, instability in North Africa and the Middle East."

Ford remains "on track" in terms of "mid-term sales" but expects profit growth to slow later in the year because of "commodity cost increase, structural cost increases; enormous seasonal factors that make the first quarter a strong quarter," Booth added.

Booth expressed satisfaction with the results of Ford's troubled European division, where pre-tax operating profit nearly tripled to $293 million on an eight-fold increase in sales, after recent losses.

Ford has also been affected by labor unrest in Europe, including a recent strike at its French plant.

"In terms of profitability we are very pleased with the results thanks to a continued discipline on incentive spending and costs, improved product line mix," said Booth.

"In terms of structural (issues), we are very comfortable in terms of the structure we have in Europe and with our workforce."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011