General Motors on Tuesday announced that it is extending its US discount programme that allows customers to buy cars and trucks at the employee rate - the promotion helped the automaker's sales soar last month.

According to the Associated Press (AP), GM has given the same discount it provides to employees to anyone buying most new GM cars or trucks since June 1. The promotion, which was set to expire on Tuesday, will now remain in effect until August 1.

The current promotion includes all 2005 GM vehicles except the Chevrolet Corvette, Pontiac GTO and GMC medium duty trucks, AP noted.

The news agency also noted that DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group said it would match GM's incentive from today (Wednesday 6 July) with an employee discount programme of its own. Last Friday, when monthly sales figures were released, Ford declined to match GM, AP added.

The Associated Press said GM sales soared 41% in June to their highest monthly total in nearly 19 years thanks to the heavily promoted discount.