In the latest sign of the strongly competitive battle in the U.S. auto market, Ford Motor Co. on April 5 began offering rebates of $500 to $1,000 on its Escape small sport utility vehicle, one of the few vehicles in its lineup that had already been selling largely without discounts. Even though the Escape has been one of the best-selling SUVs since its introduction two years ago, it has seen double-digit declines in sales in the past three months as competing models such as the Jeep Liberty from DaimlerChrysler AG and Honda Motor Co.'s newly redesigned CRV gain ground, according to a Wall Street Journal story by Sholnn Freeman. Ford spokeswoman Susan Krusel said the company was reacting to aggressive discounts by competitors with its rebates. The automaker will offer $500 rebates in most of the country, with as much as $1,000 available in selected regions where rivals have been most aggressive.