Ford Motor Co said it expects U.S. auto sales to be 16.0 million vehicles at an annualized rate in March, slightly less than the estimate in a poll of analysts by Thomson Reuters.

Ford included medium and heavy trucks in its forecast, which accounts for about 300,000 vehicles annually. The average forecast of 40 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for 15.8 million vehicles on an annualized basis, not including the trucks.

Ford's March U.S. sales rose 3 percent to 244,167 vehicles.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)