Ford surprised Wall Street with a $2.6bn profit in the last quarter as it continued to take sales from rivals.

America’s number two carmaker saw sales growing at almost double the overall pace of the industry, in a sign that it has turned the corner.

Announcing its fifth straight quarterly profit, the once debt-laden company said it was on track to remain profitable in 2010.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Volkswagen said sales rose 16% in the first half.

In the three months to the end of June, Ford’s revenue rose to $31.3bn from $27.2bn a year earlier, more than analysts’ forecast of $29.8bn.

Car sales in the first six months of 2010 rose 28%, almost double the industry pace.

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