Ford is one the three big US carmakers
Ford has reported a jump in US sales of 43% last month, selling more cars than its great rival General Motors (GM).
GM posted a more modest rise of 11.5%, as it benefited from customers abandoning Toyota over the Japanese firm's recall problems.
"We got what we thought was our fair share of Toyota sales," said Mike DiGiovanni, GM executive director.
Toyota reported a fall in sales of 8.7% for the first full month since it announced major recalls in January.
The world's biggest carmaker has now recalled more than 8 million cars over concerns about accelerator pedals and brake systems.
The fall in sales was not as big as the company had feared. "I'm surprised that we sold as many vehicles as we did," said Bob Carter, a Toyota group vice president.
Executives from the company were facing questions from the US Congress on Tuesday regarding the safety issues that led to the recalls.
Nissan, Honda and Hyundai also reported double-digit sales growth in February.
Toyota's sales contrasted sharply with those of the US's biggest carmakers.
Ford's total sales in February hit 142,285, compared with GM's 141,951. This was the first month that Ford outsold its rival since 1998, when GM's sales were hit by a strike.
"The strength of our new products and Ford's leadership in quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design and value are resonating with customers," said Ken Czubay, at Ford.
GM is in the process of discontinuing four brands - Saab, Hummer, Saturn and Pontiac.
When sales for these brands are excluded, those of its remaining core brands - Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac - rose 32.2% in February.
Susan Docherty, GM vice president for sales, service and marketing, said the firm's "solid" sales figures gave it a "a lot of confidence" that its efforts to revive its fortunes were continuing to gather speed.
However, earlier on Tuesday, GM announced that it was recalling 1.3 million small cars across North America because of a power steering problem that has been linked to 14 crashes.
Four GM models are affected - the Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Pursuit and Pontiac 4.