Ford is exploring strategic options for Automobile Protection Corporation (APCO), with an eye on its sale.

APCO, a wholly owned subsidiary, was purchased by Ford Motor in July 1999. It offers vehicle service contracts and related after-market products to dealers of all makes and models.

"APCO is a strong company that has performed very well, achieving growth in sales and revenue since its acquisition. As a result of our ongoing strategic review, we believe it is prudent now for us to consider a sale," said Ford chief financial officer Don Leclair.

Ford stressed no sale was guaranteed to take place.