Truck maker Volvo said on Monday deliveries of trucks rose 1% in the first four months of 2006 thanks to strong demand in key European and US markets.

Volvo delivered 72,661 trucks in the period, up from 71,766 a year earlier, Reuters reported.

The news agency noted that demand for heavy-duty trucks is seen rising further this year as customers bring forward purchases of older, cheaper trucks before new environmental legislation for engines is introduced in Europe in October and at the turn of the year in the United States.

Volvo reportedly said truck deliveries in Europe rose 8% while deliveries in North America were up 14%.

"I had forecast deliveries of 19,100 trucks in April and the outcome was 19,347 trucks, so it was a tiny bit better, but these are monthly figures so one should not draw too many conclusions for the full year from them," Cheuvreux analyst Patrik Sjoblom told Reuters.

"Europe was slightly stronger than I had expected, about 4% stronger, and other markets and Asia were somewhat weaker while the rest were in line, so looking at the margin mix it was actually positive. The big money is made in Europe."

Deliveries in Asia plunged 60%, partly due to last year's figures being inflated by a giant order to Iran, the news agency added.

It reported that Staffan Jufors, chief executive of Volvo Trucks, repeated the group's prognosis for sales in Europe of 270,000 to 280,000 vehicles this year. In North America, Volvo sees the market at around 340,000 to 350,000 units.

Deliveries of Renault-brand trucks rose 6% while those of Volvo Trucks fell 6%.

"This (the decline at Volvo) is a result of the shift in production to the new FH and FM products at the beginning of the year," the firm reportedly said.

The group's US Mack brand saw deliveries increase 12% to 12,633 units, Reuters said, adding that the number of orders accepted fell "significantly" in April from the first quarter as production slots for delivery this year have become fully booked, ahead of the introduction of the new emission rules.