The Internal Revenue Service said that owners of thousands of Ford, Toyota and Lexus hybrid vehicles can continue to claim the Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit, but the phase-out period for claiming the credit has already begun for Toyota and Lexus owners because of strong sales of the company's hybrids.

The IRS said Ford sold 6,272 qualifying vehicles to retail dealers during the quarter ending June 30, including the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner. The credits ranged from $1,950 to $3,000. Taxpayers can claim the full amount of the credit up to the end of the first full calendar quarter in which Ford sells its 60,000th vehicle. So far, Ford has reported selling 33,547 qualifying hybrids.

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