Net income was $1.6 billion, or 40 cents per share, up from $1.4 billion a year earlier.
The automaker posted first-quarter earnings excluding items of 41 cents per share, up from 39 cents a share in the year-earlier period.
Revenue increased to $35.8 billion from $32.4 billion a year ago. Revenue in North America, the company's largest market, shot up by one-fifth during the quarter.
Analysts had expected Ford to report earnings excluding items 37 cents per share on revenue of $33.78 billion, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.
The second-largest U.S. automaker said its European restructuring was on track.
The company said it still expected to lose $2 billion in Europe this year. Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks told reporters that recent economic data in the region painted a cloudy picture of when Europe would eventually rebound.
In North America, Ford's pretax profit reached its highest level since at least 2000, when it began reporting the region as a separate unit. The company posted a $2.4 billion profit there, with sales volume up 17 percent.
Ford posted a $462 million loss in Europe, reflecting higher costs and the economic downturn's impact on consumer demand for new cars and trucks. In South America, Ford lost $218 million due to unfavorable exchange rates particularly in Venezuela.
In the Asia Pacific/Africa, Ford earned $6 million. In China, Ford's market share was 3.6 percent in the first quarter.