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STATEMENT BY DAVID S. SMITH, MANAGER, MINORITY DEALER OPERATIONS, FORD NORTH AMERICAN AUTOMOTIVE OPERATIONS

 STATEMENT BY DAVID S. SMITH, MANAGER, MINORITY DEALER OPERATIONS,
 FORD NORTH AMERICAN AUTOMOTIVE OPERATIONS
 DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Following is a statement by David S. Smith, manager, Minority Dealer Operations, North American Automotive Operations:
 Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is committed to minority participation and opportunities and has the strongest, most advanced minority dealer program in the industry. To date, we have 244 total minority dealers, 185 of whom are African-Americans.
 Ford Motor Company presently has 22 percent of all car and truck dealers nationally. Yet 42 percent of all minority dealers nationwide have Ford Motor Company franchises. And more than half of all dealerships owned by African-Americans nationwide are Ford or Lincoln- Mercury franchises.
 Minority dealers experience the same difficulties as our other dealers. Weak economic conditions have hurt some dealers -- both minority and non-minority -- particularly those who are new, inexperienced or in smaller markets.
 As you may know, one of our minority dealers, Anthony Kennedy, and a white businessman, Robert Frensley, who was Mr. Kennedy's landlord, have filed suit against Ford in Nashville. Mr. Kennedy, who has been a successful Ford dealer in Muldruph, Ky., and Frankfort, Ky., sought a larger dealership opportunity. Because of his experience and his success in Kentucky, he was provided an opportunity to become the Ford dealer in Hickory Hollow, a Nashville, Tenn., suburb.
 All major market representation decisions are based on a comprehensive market study process, which determines the proper number and preferred locations of dealers in a market. This process was used in the Nashville situation.
 Mr. Kennedy began operating the dealership. He was not required to make any personal investment until viability of the dealership had been proven. Unfortunately, the dealership did not succeed and Mr. Kennedy subsequently resigned while Ford is very committed to promoting and assisting minority dealers, we are not guarantors of success. Fortunately, Mr. Kennedy had not invested in the business and lost no money. That loss was Ford's. Mr. Kennedy still is a dealer principal in the Muldruph, Ky., franchise, and we will continue to support him as we do all of our minority dealers.
 With regard to Mr. Frensley, he chose on his own to become landlord of Hickory Hollow Ford. He elected to assume that role as an independent business decision, and Ford is not responsible for that decision.
 We believe that some of the testimonials submitted on behalf of Mr. Kennedy may have been taken out of context and have nothing to do with the case at hand. We are disappointed that the statements have been made by respected and knowledgeable persons who were unaware of all of the facts in this particular case.
 -0- 9/28/92
 /CONTACT: Tom Rhoades of Ford Motor Company, 313-337-3864/
 (F) CO: Ford Motor Company ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:


KE -- DE024 -- 4107 09/28/92 17:05 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 28, 1992
Words:474
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