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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Ford Motor Co. (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report stock is gaining 4.52% to $13.08 on heavy trading volume on Tuesday afternoon after the automaker's U.S. February sales increased 20.4% year-over-year, with 217,192 vehicles sold.

Truck sales were up 14.8% to 80,251 last month, driven by a 9.9% growth in F-Series sales.

An 11.9% increase in Fusion sales and a 32.8% rise in Focus sales helped push smaller car sales up 19% for the second month of the year. Sales of sports utility vehicles rose 28.4% to 65,016 due to strong performance from the Escape, the Explorer and the Edge models.

"Management said that U.S. unit sales of light vehicles increased 20.2% from the previous year, driven by higher demand for Explorer SUVs, transit vans and the Lincoln brand," TheStreet's David Peltier wrote in a post on Dividend Stock Advisor.

(Ford is held in the Dividend Stock Advisor portfolio. See all of the holdings with afree trial.)

The Lincoln brand saw sales rise 30.4% with SUV sales jumping 40.9% and sedan sales gaining 14%.

"We believe the company will continue to benefit from lower interest rates and gasoline prices in the coming months," Peltier added.

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So far today, 55.29 million shares of Ford have exchanged hands, compared with its average daily volume of 40.49 million shares. 

Separately, Ford has a "hold" rating and a letter grade of C+ at TheStreet Ratings because of the company's strengths, such as earnings per share, net income and revenue growth, and its weaknesses, including disappointing stock performance.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: F

TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.

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