DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said on Tuesday it was raising cash rebates by at least 25 percent on some of its slow-selling pickups and SUVs, after posting a 3 percent decline in U.S. sales for February.
The drop was the ninth consecutive monthly fall in sales for the second-largest U.S. automaker, which has seen sales of many vehicles hurt by rising gasoline prices.
The new rebates from Ford, which suffered an 8 percent drop in high-margin SUV and pickup sales in February, cover its Explorer and Expedition SUVs and some versions of its F-150 and SuperDuty pickups, the automaker said.
Ford also extended its offer of interest-free financing for terms of up to 60 months on the two SUVs, spokesman David Reuter said.
Ford raised discounts on the four-door Explorer SUV -- which saw U.S. sales decline 19.1 percent last month -- and the F-150 SuperCab and SuperDuty pickups by $500 to a total of $2,500.
The four-door F-150 Supercrew pickups now have cash rebates totaling $2,000, according to Ford.
Ford raised cash incentives on its Expedition SUV, which saw sales decline 13.8 percent last month, by $1,000 to a total of $3,000.
All the rebates now run through April 4, Reuter said.
Analysts expect Detroit's profit-punishing price war to heat up this year after a poor sales performance so far in 2005, which caused inventories of unsold cars to rise to above-normal levels.
General Motors posted a 13 percent drop in its February U.S. sales. DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler unit, which led incentive spending in January, according to some analysts, posted an 8 percent increase in February sales.