Sales by Ford and its joint ventures in China fell 34.9% year on year in the first quarter.

"Amid an unprecedented business slow down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ford's quarterly sales declined… but fared slightly better than the industry," the automaker said.

Market share was 2.2% aided by "increased digital marketing, safe and timely resumption of dealer operations, and customer-focused care programmes that ensured strong engagement and sales recovery from mid-February".

Ford said the resumption of sales and service operations at all dealerships in China enabled a strong sales recovery in March when 40,707 vehicles were sold, accounting for approximately 46% of first quarter sales and achieving 75% of monthly sales levels reached during March 2019.

Ford brand vehicle sales reached 52,937 units during the quarter, down 29.1% year over year.

JMC sold approximately 6,900 Ford Transit vehicles during the quarter to meet increased demand for ambulances during the pandemic. The nearly 3,700 units sold in March achieved 92% of sales levels from the same period last year.

Lincoln brand vehicle sales reached 6,096 units during the quarter, down 37% year over year.