I am writing this letter to General Motors minority dealers in response to an article titled 'Point Spread' in the Feb. 3 issue of Automotive News. In a nutshell, the article was about the domestic manufacturers' minority dealer programs.
After reading it, I had to decide whether to ignore the statements in the article or to personally tell you GM's story. It is a story that I know firsthand since, along with you, I live and breathe it every day.
More important, I felt that I must speak to you about the facts - and our program's record, which speaks for itself. Inferences and perceptions cause disbelief and mistrust, which lead to divisiveness, and that is not what we are about. In our program, as in our nation and in our industry, diversity is our strength.
The interviews in the Point Spread article focused on the dealers, and there was a strong inference that the Big 3 minority dealer programs are specifically African-American designed. I cannot speak on behalf of the other two manufacturers, but I can speak on behalf of General Motors and our continued strong commitment to our minority dealers.
As you know, GM's Minority Dealer Program recognizes four minority ethnic groups - African Americans, Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans - and GM's minority dealer family is representative of those groups.
Why don't you take a moment to review the accompanying charts? Our record speaks for itself.
As you can see, GM has a fair and equitable representation of all four minority groups. GM will continue to do everything possible to bring minority group members into the dealer network and into the mainstream of our economy.
Today, I feel somewhat disheartened talking about these issues because I believe GM's program is truly a minority program. We are and will continue to be dedicated to increasing and maintaining successful minority dealer opportunities throughout the United States.
If there is a minority dealer who feels that his/her request was not responded to by Minority Dealer Development, I strongly urge you to contact your respective Minority Dealer Advisory Council representative. You can give your representative the specifics about your request and the disposition of that request.
As you know, GM has an ongoing commitment to recruit, select, train and place the best minority candidates in the right dealership opportunities, as well as to help them remain successful in their businesses. I am proud of our commitment to our minority dealers and to the minority dealer program. I believe it is an example for the industry.
We are working daily to create a diverse network and to make our products appealing to a wide spectrum of our diverse customer base. In 1996, we achieved 275 minority dealers, which is the highest total of minority dealers in GM's history. Our goal for 1997 is 303.
That's why you are so important. You are a major part of the economic expansion in your communities and in the industry. I firmly believe that the support we give and receive is crucial to the success of each and every one of us. I stand by my philosophy that we cannot count ourselves as successful until all of us have achieved success.
I trust that this letter has allayed the concerns that you may have had because of the Point Spread article in Automotive News.