Ford is offering employees and retirees up to $US1,000 in cash to entice friends, relatives and neighbours to buy vehicles with employee discounts, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

AP said Ford is allowing each of its 300,000 employees and retirees to give the special discounts to up to eight people this year.

"If every employee and retiree helps sell just one more vehicle, it would account for over 300,000 sales and an additional two points of market share," Steve Lyons, vice president for Ford's North America marketing, sales and service, reportedly said in an e-mail sent to employees last week.

Ford spokesman Jon Harmon told the Associated Press this is the first time that the company has offered payments to its employees for attracting customers, although it has allowed employees to pass along discounts to customers for some time.

Under the plan, which runs until September 30, employees and retirees will get $50 in cash for the first sale they sponsor, $75 for the second, $100 for the third, $150 for the following four sales and $175 for the eighth sale.

Ford's move follows General Motors' recent effort to boost sales by offering all customers the same discounts available to employees, the Associated Press noted, adding that Ford sales are off 5.7% this year, while its US market share has fallen 1% to 19.1%.