Ford sold 813,756 cars and trucks in Europe in the first half of 2003, a decline of 1.2% compared with a year ago, Ford of Europe said on Wednesday, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

The report said that, despite the drop in sales, Ford said it grabbed market share as the European market contracted 2.7% in the period.

“In a time when the European car market is enduring one of its most challenging and competitive periods ever, Ford continues to outperform its competition,” Ford of Europe’s vice president of sales and marketing, Earl Hesterberg, said in a statement cited by the news agency.

A Ford of Europe spokesman told Dow Jones that, in the first half, sales of passenger cars fell 17,660 to 707,637, while commercial vehicles rose 7,957 to 106,239.

The Focus was Ford’s most successful model, selling 261,900 units in the January-June period, followed by the Fiesta with 184,200 cars sold, the report said, adding that Italy, Spain and France were Ford’s best markets in Europe.

In June, total vehicle sales rose 2% to 135,000, the spokesman told Dow Jones.