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DEARBORN, Mich. - July 17, 2009 / -- DiversityBusiness.com/- Ford Motor Company says that its percentage of spending with minority- and women-owned businesses in the U.S. remained in line with prior years, following through on the company’s commitment to maintain a diverse supply base.

Ford purchased $3.3 billion in goods and services from its tier one Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) and Women Business Enterprises (WBE) in 2008. In 2007, Ford purchased a record $4.2 billion in goods and services from tier one MBEs and WBEs in the U.S. Both figures equal approximately 10 percent of Ford’s spending with U.S. suppliers for the 2007 and 2008 periods.

In addition, Ford’s tier one suppliers spent $1.2 billion with tier two minority- and women-owned businesses in 2008. Spending by tier one suppliers at the tier two level in 2007 was $2.1 billion.

“Ford has played a leadership role in the auto industry in supporting minority- and women-owned businesses,” said Tony Brown, group vice president, Global Purchasing. "Despite the industry turmoil, we are not about to walk away from our commitment to a diverse supply base that reflects the customers who buy our vehicles.

“Although the total dollar amount we spent is down as a result of lower industry volumes, our promise to support minority- and women-owned businesses remains as solid as ever,” Brown said. “Moreover, we encourage our tier one suppliers to follow Ford’s lead and continue their efforts in using women and minority suppliers.”

As part of Ford’s commitment to a diverse supply base, the company launched a new initiative in October 2008 to assist suppliers in developing innovative products and technical expertise. Under the program, called the Joint Technology Framework (JTF), Ford will provide designated suppliers special access to intellectual property assets so they can develop products for future commercial use. Six minority and women owned business enterprises are initial participants.

Ford and the six initial JTF suppliers have been working to create a database and identify and evaluate technologies and intellectual property suitable for development. Three JTF suppliers are moving ahead with work in specific areas:

Dakkota Integrated Systems, which develops and produces vehicle interiors, has identified potential opportunities with technologies that offer alternatives to adhesives in interior components, and a product to enhance interior stowage capacity. Gonzalez Production Systems, a maker of closure, welding and assembly systems for the transportation industry, is working with ultrasonic welding, a potential low-cost joining process for aluminum body construction. Grupo Antolin Wayne, an assembler of modular overhead systems and interior consoles, has identified areas of common interest relating to vehicle weight reduction and interior lighting options. “A key enabler to making minority- and women-owned businesses more competitive is technology. I’m pleased we have been able to move the JTF program to the next level by identifying and pairing specific technologies with partners that will continue the development process. More work needs to be done, but we have laid a good foundation to build upon,” Brown said.

Ford maintains supplier diversity reporting requirements for tier one companies and uses its patented M-Tier Diversity Reporting System as a technology platform for managing a structured, programmatic approach for verifying use of minority- and women-owned suppliers.

Ford’s efforts in supplier diversity were recognized by a number of diversity publications this year. Hispanic Business Magazine named Ford one of its 2009 Diversity Elite 60 Companies and a Top 25 Supplier Diversity Company. DiversityInc. applauded Ford for its long-term commitment to minority- and women-owned enterprises. This year, Ford Motor Company was ranked No. 3 on the DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Supplier Diversity.

“Our dedication and devotion to maintaining a diverse supply base is something that we are extremely proud of at Ford Motor Company,” said Armando Ojeda, director, Supplier Diversity Development, Global Purchasing.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 205,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.

About DiversityBusiness.com
Launched in 1999, DiversityBusiness, with over 50,000 members, is the largest organization of diversity owned businesses throughout the United States that provide goods and services to Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and colleges and universities. DiversityBusiness provides research and data collection services for diversity including the "Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities", "Top 500 Diversity Owned Companies in America", and others. Its research has been recognized and published by Forbes Magazine, Business Week and thousands of other print and internet publications. The site has gained national recognition and has won numerous awards for its content and design. DiversityBusiness reaches more diverse suppliers and communicates more information to them on a more frequent basis then all other organizations combined. We also communicate with mainstream businesses, government agencies and educational institutions with information related to diversity. Our magazine reaches over 300,000 readers, a monthly e-newsletter that reaches 2.4 million, and website visitors of 1.2 million a month. It is a leading provider of Supplier Diversity management tools and has the most widely distributed Diversity magazine in the United States. DiversityBusiness.com is produced by Computer Consulting Associates International Inc. (CCAii.com) of Southport, CT. Founded in 1980.

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