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GM CHAIRMAN ADDRESSES NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE

 GM CHAIRMAN ADDRESSES NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE
 /ADVANCE/SAN DIEGO, July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The "American Dream" of


economic opportunity for anyone, regardless of racial or ethnic background, can only be achieved if the United States pursues economic growth that results in good jobs and its citizens strive for excellence in education, manufacturing and human relations, General Motors (NYSE: GM) Chairman Robert C. Stempel said today.
 Speaking on the theme of "American Business At The Crossroads" at the National Urban League's 1992 Conference, Mr. Stempel said "useful employment with good pay would solve a host of problems confronting this country."
 "This country and its people possess enormous potential," he said. "We need to find ways to unleash that potential and pump new life into the American dream."
 In this election year, many people are questioning what has happened to the American dream, which is multifaceted -- part economic, part sociological, a multiethnic society -- Mr. Stempel said.
 "There's a sense among many Americans that those components are slipping away from us -- a feeling that we're losing the dynamic growth and respect for diversity that have long characterized this country," he explained.
 Mr. Stempel said realizing that we live in a global economy, pursuing economic growth and striving for excellence to make "American" once again a synonym for "best in the world" will contribute significantly to reigniting the American dream for those who have lost hope.
 Mr. Stempel said that despite the major restructuring going on in General Motors' North American Operations, "the changes at GM are not going to affect our continuing commitment to education or diversity in the work force, our dealer body, or our suppliers."
 He pointed out that minorities make up more than 20 percent of GM's North American work force, and that the minority suppliers from which GM makes purchases provide an estimated 40,000 jobs to minorities across the United States. GM also led corporate America last year in purchasing more than $1 billion of material for the fifth consecutive year from minority-owned companies.
 He said last year GM successfully recruited 7 percent of all black engineering graduates, and 21 percent of all of GM's new college hires were minorities. Despite a decline in the corporation's overall dealer body, GM minority-owned dealerships are expected to increase from 192 last year to more than 260 by the end of next year.
 Stressing that GM recognizes its corporate responsibility to society, Mr. Stempel cited yesterday's announcement that GM and its Hughes Aircraft subsidiary, which is the largest GM employer in California, have committed to a five-year program that will provide more than $18 million for the "Rebuild L.A." effort.
 The seven-point program, announced by C. Michael Armstrong, Hughes Aircraft chairman and chief executive officer, includes economic incentives and loans to rebuild existing businesses and start new ones in the Los Angeles riot area. The program also includes an increase in contract awards to existing Hughes minority-owned vendors and suppliers, and development of new business opportunities for minority firms.
 Financial support for community-based organizations and Hughes- sponsored educational programs at schools serving inner-city youth will also be increased under the new program.
 Mr. Stempel said that increased cooperation between government and industry is necessary in order for business to be able to provide jobs, and he expressed concern that congressional bills proposing significant increases in fuel-economy standards could jeopardize an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 auto-related jobs in the United States.
 He said that less than 3 percent of current U.S. vehicle sales meet proposed requirements of 40 miles per gallon (mpg), and a Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association study estimates that proposed fuel-economy legislation could put jobs at risk in more than 40 U.S. auto industry vehicle-assembly plants.
 Significantly increasing the current fuel-economy standard of 27.5 mpg poses a special risk to employes at those plants, as well as at suppliers, dealers and other auto-related businesses, he said.
 "It seems much of our potential growth and competitiveness is being threatened by proposed legislation in Washington," Mr. Stempel said. "A healthy domestic auto and supplier industry is vital to the American economy. Conversely, any slowdown in auto sales has a spiraling negative effect on the nation's economy."
 He noted that the auto industry has just begun to see some signs of improvement in the economy, but any recovery is expected to be slow.
 "GM and the industry are just beginning to change over to the new 1993 models and serious consideration should be given to new ways to strengthen the economy rather than continuing to pile on legislation that could weaken it," Mr. Stempel said.
 -0- 7/28/92/1600
 /CONTACT: John F. Mueller of General Motors, 313-556-2028/
 (GM) CO: General Motors Corporation; National Urban League ST: California IN: AUT SU: ECO


JG -- DE019 -- 4188 07/28/92 15:03 EDT
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Date:Jul 28, 1992
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