Ford Motor Co. (F) said Tuesday it was raising cash rebates by at least 25 percent on some of its slow-selling pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, 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 truck sales in February, cover its Explorer and Expedition SUVs and some versions of its F-150 and SuperDuty pickup trucks, the automaker said.

Ford also extended its offergest U.S. automaker raised discounts on four-door Explorer SUV — which saw U.S. sales decline 19.1 percent last month — and the F-150 Supercab and SuperDuty pickup trucks by $500 to a total of $2,500.

The four-door F-150 Supercrew pickup trucks 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 Corp. (GM) posted a 13 percent drop in its February U.S. sales. DaimlerChrysler AG's (DCX) Chrysler unit, which led incentives spending in January, according to some analysts, posted an 8 percent increase in February sales.