General Motors , coming off a third straight month of declining sales, reportedly added $US500 to $1,000 in cash incentives on most 2005 model year vehicles on Wednesday, as it tries to spark a late-year rally.

Spokeswoman Deborah Silverman told The Associated Press (AP) that GM’s cash rebates on most 2005 models now range between $500 and $3,500, including $1,500 on most full-size pickups and sport utility vehicles.

Financing a vehicle through the company’s finance arm, General Motors Acceptance Corp., can get the customer another $500 to $1,500 in “bonus cash” though the amount varies by region, AP added. The new deals run until September 30.

“The program is not dramatically different from last month,” Silverman told AP.

The Associated Press said GM still is offering cash rebates of $5,000 on most 2004 trucks and sport utility vehicles and $4,000 on most cars.

The news agency noted that GM’s sales were off 7% in August from a year ago. For the first eight months of the year, GM’s business is off 2%. GM spent an average of $4,379 per vehicle on incentives in August – the most of any major automaker – though the amount was only $9 more than its spending average in July, AP added.

GM said last week it was cutting its fourth-quarter production forecast by roughly 7% because of inflated vehicle inventories, the Associated Press said.

The report added that GM hopes to boost sales in the final months of 2004 with the release of several new products, including cars such as the Chevrolet Cobalt, which will replace the high-volume Cavalier; the Buick LaCrosse premium midsize sedan; and the Pontiac G6 performance midsize sedan.

Ford reportedly said Wednesday it was keeping its current incentives programme intact until at least September 30. Ford’s deals include $4,000 in cash on the 2004 Taurus and $3,000 in cash on the 2004 F-150 Super Cab, AP said.

Ford, whose sales were down 6% last month, spent an average of $3,954 per vehicle on incentives in August, up 7% from a year ago and has also cut its fourth-quarter vehicle production forecast for North America, the Associated Press added.