Ford’s drive in the Middle East continued accelerating during the first quarter of 2012, reporting a 37 per cent growth in GCC retail sales compared to the same period last year. Increasing retail sales across the Ford and Lincoln lineups in the region further confirm continued increase in consumer preference for the latest models from both brands. The rise in retail sales was seen across passenger cars, which grew by more than 25 per cent, as well as the utility vehicles range, which registered a 50 per cent growth, with the main performers being Ford Fusion, Taurus, as well as the Ford Edge, Escape, Explorer, Expedition and F-150. This upbeat Q1 growth follows the best ever year for Ford in the region, with full year sales for 2011 up by 50 per cent on 2010. “This is a remarkable start to the year for Ford, with more and more customers looking to Ford and Lincoln products for more value and more car for their money,” said Hussein Murad, Ford Middle East’s director of Sales. “Our sales reflect the growing recognition and demand for our vehicles as customers see the great design and segment leading fuel-efficiencies together with industry-leading safety and convenience technologies brought to them in an affordable package with outstanding quality.\" Retail sales in Saudi Arabia shot up by 50 per cent while Kuwait remained vibrant during the first quarter, thanks to Expedition and Explorer. Total Q1 sales in the UAE increased by 60 per cent over the same period last year, while Bahrain noted a 55 per cent boost in total sales, Qatar and Oman each posted a growth of about 40 per cent. “Our new models continue to deliver great results as clearly they touch upon what the GCC customer really wants: quality, great looks, outstanding interior space and comfort and unique technologies that are affordable. These results prove that Ford’s efforts in delivering these elements are truly appreciated by our growing customer base,” added Murad. With combined global success, Ford Motor Company posted its best March US sales month since 2007 – with the Ford Fusion recording its best month ever, Ford Focus and Ford Edge achieving their best March ever and the F-Series showing the strongest March sales in five years. Company sales totalled 223,418 vehicles worldwide for March, a 5 per cent gain over year-ago levels. Retail sales increased 11 per cent for the month. For the first quarter, Ford Motor Company’s sales were up 9 per cent versus year-ago levels, totaling 539,247 vehicles sold. The increases were driven by the popularity of Ford’s most fuel-efficient models posting record sales months.