Ford Motor Co. on Thursday said its December sales increased 2 percent over the same month a year ago as strong truck sales outweighed sharply lower car sales.

Car sales fell 19.7 percent to 83,045, while sales of pickups, vans and sport utility vehicles rose 14.9 percent to 198,113. The results include Ford's foreign brands -- Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo -- and heavy truck sales.

Ford, the world's second-largest automaker, was forced to match interest-free loans and rebates offered by industry leader General Motors Corp., which had targeted Ford's truck business. Ford executives had said the deals were too expensive to maintain for long.

For all of 2001, Ford's sales were down 5.5 percent to 3,971,364 vehicles. Car sales were off 11.4 percent and truck sales were down 1.6 percent.