Ford Motor Co. reported a 48 percent year-over-year drop in its US vehicle sales Tuesday amid a deepening economic downturn.
The automaker also announced plans to slash second quarter production by nearly 40 percent to 425,000 vehicles from 685,000 vehicles in the second quarter of 2008.
Truck production will fall to 290,000 trucks units from 448,000 trucks in 2008 while car production will be slashed to 135,000 vehicles from 237,000 a year earlier, the company said.
"A key element of our strategy to build our reputation and improve resale values is to align our production with consumer demand," said Ken Czubay, Ford's vice president for sales and marketing.
"Our disciplined approach to the market in these challenging times helps us to minimize costly incentives which erode brand value."
Ford did, however, manage to improve somewhat from January's weak performance despite fewer selling days as sales rose to 96,044 vehicles in February from 90,596 in January.
"The economic and competitive environment remains challenging," Czubay said in a statement.
"Ironically, these times provide the best opportunity to distance Ford from the competition," he added.
"We're determined to stay on course and stay focused -- building a foundation for future growth with distinctively styled products that offer consumers best-in-class quality, fuel economy, safety and value."
Ford last week reiterated assurances that it can survive the current economic downturn without resorting to government aid.
Cash-strapped General Motors and Chrysler have asked the US Treasury for another 21.6 billion dollars in loans on top of the 17.4 billion approved in December.