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Ford, SBA Helping Minority Dealers

July 24, 2002

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CLERMONT, Fla. (AP) _ Ford Motor Co. and the Small Business Administration are coming together to give minority-owned dealerships access to more capital and other resources.

Although the federal agency has worked in the past with Detroit’s ``Big Three″ auto manufacturers to assist outside contractors, this is the first time its has aimed its efforts at helping dealers, SBA Administrator Hector Barreto said Wednesday.

``One of the things that makes this unique is that this is a very specific, concerted outreach program,″ he said. ``We’ve had a relationship with the automotive industry for a number of years, but what we’re doing now is taking it to the next level.″

The program, expected to be in place nationally by the fall, also will provide dealers with technical and business-development assistance.

In addition, Ford and the National Association for Minority Automotive Dealers are joining forces to increase the number of minority-owned dealerships.

Currently, 7 percent of Ford’s 5,100 dealerships are owned by minorities.

``We have a vision of providing economic empowerment and opportunities to emerging communities,″ said George Frame, Ford’s executive director for dealer development. ``Obviously, we hope as these communities prosper, they will turn toward Ford Motor Company, because we are there, supporting these communities.″

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