Propelled by strong demand for its pickup trucks and a return to profitability in Europe, Ford Motor Co. today reported that it’s first quarter net income doubled to $2.45 billion, up 113 percent from the same period a year ago. Ford posted earnings per share of 68 cents for the quarter, exceeding Wall Street predictions of 48 cents per share.

During a conference call with analysts, Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks indicated that the company was able to meet profit forecasts of 9.5 percent and expected that it would maintain its projected pre-tax profit of $10.8 billion for the year.

For its operations in North America, Ford reported a record 12.9 percent operating margin, resulting in a pre-tax profit of $3.08 billion. In Europe, Ford posted a pretax profit of $434 million, while its profit doubled in the Asia-Pacific region to $220 million, up $105 million from the same period last year.

Ford cautioned that its results for the second quarter would not likely be as strong, due largely to normal summer and end-of-year shutdowns of its production plants in Europe and North America.