Car parts maker Magna International reported a higher than expected rise in second-quarter profit on Wednesday and raised its earnings guidance for the full year, Reuters said.

Magna reportedly said the results were driven by an 18% jump in sales and added that, while overall car sales were flat to weaker in the quarter, manufacturers used more of its parts in vehicles than a year earlier.

According to Reuters, the company said net income rose to $174 million, or $1.76 a share, in the quarter ended June 30, from $159 million, or $1.63 a share, a year earlier, while sales rose to $3.85 billion from $3.27 billion.

Fifteen analysts surveyed by Reuters Research, a unit of Reuters Group Plc, had expected, on average, earnings of $1.70 a share.

Magna told Reuters North American vehicle production fell about 9% during the second quarter while European vehicle production was flat but it said its content per vehicle rose 31% in Europe and 23% in North America.

For the full year, according to Reuters, Magna raised its automotive sales forecast to a range of $14 billion to $14.8 billion from $13.4 billion to $14.3 billion and hiked its forecast of diluted earnings per share to $6.20 to $6.55 from $6 to $6.40.

The company said it expects full year average dollar content per vehicle to range between $500 and $520 in North America and $300 and $320 in Europe, Reuters added.

The news agency said Magna forecasts 2003 production volumes of about 15.9 million units in North America, up from its previous estimate of 15.8 million, and 16 million units in Europe, down from its earlier forecast of 16.1 million.

The company reportedly said it expects third-quarter automotive sales of between $3.4 billion and $3.6 billion and diluted earnings per share from operations in a range of $1.05 to $1.25. Analysts surveyed by Reuters Research had forecast earnings per share of $1.22.

Magna expects average dollar content per vehicle to range between $510 and $525 in North America and between $330 and $345 in Europe in the third quarter. It forecast third-quarter vehicle volumes will be about 3.7 million units in both North America and Europe, Reuters said.