The Ford Motor Minority Dealers Association wants members to pay $15 for every new vehicle they sell to support the group and help pay for dealer training. Bill Armstrong, a Ford dealer in Homestead, Fla., and president of the association, says the group must depend less on support from Ford Motor Co.
The association is funded by member dues and aid from Ford. But funding has dwindled in recent years and could erode further, says Executive Director A.V. Fleming.
The number of dues-paying association members has dropped from 290 in the 1990s to about half that number. The association ultimately wants the per-vehicle fee to replace member dues, Armstrong says.
Given Ford Motor's financial troubles, the association is concerned that the company's support could decline or end, Fleming says.
Fleming would not divulge the association's budget. He said he believes the additional money the association seeks will allow it to double its budget in two years.
Dealer Armstrong says association members are "going to have to stand on our own."
"The invoicing program is the first step for the Ford minority dealer association to mature to the point that it is able to control its own destiny," Armstrong told Automotive News.
He says 40 percent of members already have agreed to participate. That could rise to 90 or 95 percent once members understand the program's benefits, Armstrong adds.
Ford Motor will include the $15 fee on vehicle invoices it sends to association members, Armstrong says. It will disburse the money to the association four times a year, he says.
The predominantly black dealer group has lost members to the Alliance of Ford Motor Minority Dealers, a predominantly Hispanic dealer association. Since it was launched in 2002, the alliance has attracted about 65 members.
Other association members have sold their dealerships or gone out of business.
You may e-mail Arlena Sawyers at [email protected]