DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said Monday that its U.S. vehicle sales fell a razor-thin 0.1 percent in February from a year earlier as aggressive incentives managed to counter the effects of war fears, harsh winter weather and weak consumer confidence.
Despite sluggish sales, Ford also said it was maintaining its first-quarter North American vehicle production forecast at 1.035 million units, about 2 percent lower than a year ago.
Production is key to automakers' earnings because they book profits when vehicles are shipped from factories to dealers rather than when they are sold on dealer lots.
Ford, which offered customers an array of cash rebates, interest-free loans and other discounts to keep its sales rolling in February, said they totaled 268,196 vehicles compared with 268,404 a year earlier. The results include Ford's foreign brands Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo and some heavy trucks.
Other leading automakers were to report their February sales also on Monday. General Motors indicated last week that light-vehicle sales would probably come in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of less than 16 million, down from 16.5 million in February 2002.