This paper aims at tracking vehicles from monocular intensity image sequences and presents an efficient and robust approach to three-dimensional (3-D) model-based vehicle tracking. Under the weak perspective assumption and the ground-plane constraint, the movements of model projection in the two-dimensional image plane can be decomposed into two motions: translation and rotation. They are the results of the corresponding movements of 3-D translation on the ground plane (GP) and rotation around the normal of the GP, which can be determined separately. A new metric based on point-to-line segment distance is proposed to evaluate the similarity between an image region and an instantiation of a 3-D vehicle model under a given pose. Based on this, we provide an efficient pose refinement method to refine the vehicle's pose parameters. An improved EKF is also proposed to track and to predict vehicle motion with a precise kinematics model. Experimental results with both indoor and outdoor data show that the algorithm obtains desirable performance even under severe occlusion and clutter.