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MID-MANAGEMENT AT FORD MASH SMALL POTATOES: BLACK AND WHITE

 MID-MANAGEMENT AT FORD MASH SMALL POTATOES: BLACK AND WHITE
 NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement was issued today by Grant's Marketing Consultants (a marketing-public relations firm) in behalf of Anthony Kennedy and Robert Frensley of Nashville:
 Two former Ford dealers -- one white, one black -- have been greatly damaged because of the misrepresentations and what appears to be the corporate arrogance of mid-level officials at the Ford Motor Company.
 Anthony Kennedy, a former participant in Ford's Minority Dealership Program, has owned three Ford dealerships. Today, he has 30 percent equity in only one.
 Bob Frensley, who is white, has successfully operated two Ford dealerships -- one in Kentucky and one in West Nashville -- which he operated for 22 years. Today, that dealership, which at one time controlled one-third of Nashville's market for Ford, now languishes in bankruptcy. Today, they are co-plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Ford Motor Company. Why? Because both relied to their detriment on the promises of various mid-level officials at Ford including: Rich Arb, field operations manager in Detroit, Mich.; M.M. Quinn, former district manager in Louisville, Ky., and Bonnie Hernan with the Ford Motor Developing Corporation.
 The relevant facts leading to the painful predicament of these two dealers are explained below.
 Kennedy was lured to Nashville with the promise of owning a more lucrative dealership -- Hickory Hollow Ford. He was promised by mid-level officials at Ford that he would receive technical and financial backing. He was placed in a bad location chosen by Ford officials. He was stuck with a monthly rental of $43,000. From the outset, Kennedy relied on Ford officials' superior knowledge concerning the prospects for success. The badly needed help that was promised by Ford representatives never materialized. What finally came a little over a year after Kennedy had moved to Nashville was a letter from Ford asking Kennedy to resign. His reputation as a successful dealer operator irreparably damaged. The promise to Kennedy to place him in another Metropolitan Ford dealership was broken.
 Bob Frensley was also victimized by some of Ford's mid-level managers. Frensley had protested the opening of a new Ford dealership in Nashville (in accordance with his franchise rights). Ford promised Frensley an opportunity to serve as landlord of Kennedy's dealership and, like Kennedy, he was told that Ford was committed to the success of the new dealership. After all, Kennedy was participating in Ford's highly touted Minority Dealership Program.
 The cost to Frensley? Ford required Frensley to put up as collateral his interest in his own West Nashville dealership. After Ford's mid-level managers refused to make good on their pledges to Kennedy, Ford in October, 1991 called upon Bob Frensley Ford to make good on the loan obligation in the amount of $4.2 million. That action forced the Frensley dealership into bankruptcy court.
 A proposal by Kennedy and Frensley to repair Ford's damage was cavalierly rejected by a mid-level manager at Ford. Rather than admit that they had made a number of bad calls that severely damaged both Kennedy and Frensley, Ford mid-level managers have adamantly refused to own up to their bad judgment.
 Has the Kennedy-Frensley fiasco been fully explained to the top brass at Ford Motor, including Alexander Trotman (possibly the next chairman of the board at Ford Motor Company) who has always voiced his support for the minority program?
 After a combined total of 43 years of loyalty to Ford, Kennedy and Frensley are hoping that someone at the top will get to the bottom of their situation. Justice is on their side. And they believe that once the facts are revealed to high level management at Ford, this terrible situation will be resolved in a fair and equitable fashion.
 -0- 10/16/92
 /CONTACT: Michael Grant, Grant's Marketing Consultants, 615-726-1934, representing Anthony Kennedy and Robert Frensley/ CO: Ford Motor Company; Ford Minority Dealership Program ST: Tennessee, Kentucky IN: AUT SU:


SB -- CH009 -- 0948 10/16/92 12:27 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 16, 1992
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