BERLIN, April 15 (Reuters) - Ford said European car sales increased 12 percent in March, the tenth straight monthly gain, as customers snapped up small vehicles and compact SUVs.
Deliveries in the so-called Euro-20 markets, including all major countries plus the Baltic states, rose by 15,900 cars to 147,100 models, extending the first-quarter gain to 11 percent or 297,900 autos, Ford Europe said on Tuesday.
Sales last month were powered by models that include the Fiesta compact, the Kuga compact SUV and the Transit Custom minibus, according to Ford.
The carmaker delivered 74,700 units in its top U.K. market in March, a 13 percent gain on year-ago levels, and posted a 19 percent increase in Germany, its No. 2 European market, to 21,800 autos.
Ford's loss-making European division is counting on new models and a stabilising market to increase sales this year, after shrinking demand inflicted a 2.1 percent drop in 2013 deliveries.
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Marilyn Gerlach)