(F) - Get Report

said its February sales fell 48%, and it will slash second-quarter production by 38%.

The company said Ford, Lincoln and Mercury sales in February totaled 96,044. In the second quarter, Ford will produce 425,000 vehicles -- 68% will be trucks -- down from 685,000 vehicles during the same period a year earlier.

"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, vice president for sales and marketing, in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, the company will introduce its midsize 2010 Ford Fusion to a national TV audience tonight during

American Idol

. "Ironically, these times provide the best opportunity to distance Ford from the competition," Czubay said. Ford said the Fusion Hybrid and the Fusion S both beat comparable


(TM) - Get Report

Camry models in gasoline mileage.

At the end of February, Ford's U.S. inventories were 32% lower than a year earlier, in line with a 26% sales decline during the period.

In trading Tuesday afternoon, Ford shares were down 4 cents at $1.84, while shares in

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

were flat at $2.01.