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The Ford logo at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show.Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Ford Motor Co F-N posted a 10.1 per cent rise in first-quarter U.S. auto sales on Tuesday, fueled by pent-up demand for electric vehicles, SUVs and trucks amid easing supply chain disruptions.

The Detroit automaker joins other global rivals in reporting a rise in sales, as the industry was able to get more of their vehicles to dealers and customers on time in the quarter.

Automakers are reporting upbeat numbers at a time when worries persist about a dent in demand from rising interest rates and a looming recession.

But analysts say first-quarter sales figures should help soothe some of those fears.

“The U.S. new-vehicle market is showing signs of strength and is also being reshaped by higher prices and fewer subprime buyers,” said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive.

Demand has been such that Ford last month said it was looking at ways to boost output of gasoline-powered and hybrid F-150 trucks at a Michigan factory as part of a broader plan to increase production of several models.

Sales of crossover SUVs and trucks, a key segment, contributed to over 95 per cent of Ford’s sales in the first quarter, data showed on Tuesday, while overall sales rose to 475,906 vehicles compared with 432,132 vehicles a year earlier.

EV sales rose 41 per cent in the quarter, while sales of Ford’s F-150 Lightning pickup truck rose to 4,291 units from 254 a year earlier.

The U.S. carmaker in March hiked prices of some models of its F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck again, at a time when market leader Tesla Inc slashed prices and triggered a price war.

Overall, U.S. new vehicle sales in March were 1.37 million units, with an annual sales rate of 14.82 million, according to data released by Wards Intelligence on Monday.

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