Ford Receives Salute For Diversity Efforts
DETROIT, Jan. 7, 2003 – Ford Motor Company received the 2003 Urban Wheel Awards salute for outstanding commitment to diversity in the automotive industry. While the award usually recognizes an executive who has shown a commitment to diversity in the automotive industry, this is the first time the award was given to a company.
The award was presented by On Wheels, Inc. at its 7th annual Urban Wheel Awards at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The Urban Wheel Awards is a celebration of diversity in automotive advertising, as well as supplier and workplace diversity.
"The automotive industry has provided numerous opportunities for minorities throughout the years," said Randi Payton, President and CEO of On Wheels, Inc. "At Ford, the notion of working with minorities rather than just employing them, is part of the company's rich, 100-year heritage."
Accepting the award on Ford's behalf were James Padilla, executive vice president of Ford Motor Company and president of North America; Jim O'Connor, group vice president of North American Marketing Sales and Service; and George Frame, executive director of Dealer Development.
"Our message to minority employees, dealers and suppliers has been consistent throughout our history, said Padilla. "We were with you then, we are with you today and we will be with you in the future."
June 16, 2003 marks Ford Motor Company's 100th anniversary. While the word 'multiculturalism' didn't exist 100 years ago, the idea of diversity and inclusion originated and flourished inside Ford thanks to the vision of Henry Ford.
Ford was among the first to establish a company and a workforce that truly represented the communities it served. Henry Ford opened his plants, offices, trade schools and supervisory ranks to minorities long before other manufacturers. He also implemented groundbreaking practices such as giving African-Americans equal pay for equal work in 1913.
In the early days of the auto industry, most companies generally did not acknowledge customer differences. Ford challenged that approach 30 years ago by putting Muhammad Ali in a commercial that connected with its minority customers. Since then, Ford has been a pioneer in speaking with minority customers and is an industry leader in embracing diversity.
Ford leads all U.S. automakers in the percentage of minority dealers. Minorities represent seven percent of the company's 5,100 U.S. dealerships when the industry average is four percent. The company purchases more goods and services from minority-owned businesses than any other corporation in the world. The company also has donated millions of dollars to support ethnic and cultural organizations, provide minority scholarships and support minority colleges and universities.
"The bottom line at Ford, and in our entire industry, is that diversity and inclusion are good business. Ford's minority suppliers and dealers strengthen and help create wealth in ethnic communities by creating jobs and by giving back to those communities," added Padilla.
On Wheels Inc. is the nation's only multicultural media company specializing in the automotive industry.