How Ford is growing minority representation within its dealer network — A.V. Fleming and Robert Valdes

Ford Motor Company is taking significant strides to meet its 2020 goal of adding 100 minority dealers within five years. Today on Inside Automotive, we find out more about Ford’s minority dealer growth with both the Executive Director and Chairman of the Ford Minority Dealers Association, A.V. Fleming and Robert Valdes.

“We’re always looking to improve our numbers. The way we are doing that is getting more stores for our dealers. Securing our dealers so we don’t lose anymore and to gain more dealers. One way is through looking at guys who have multiple franchises that meet certain criteria to become dealers,” says Fleming.

Valdes has been a Ford dealer for over a decade. In the past four years, more attention has been placed on minorities and their role in the company. Currently, there are over 200 which puts Ford beyond its minimum goal already. In fact, 300 may be attainable.

When discussing what spurred this program forward, events like the murder of George Floyd and changes within the social climate have certainly had an effect on many companies. Fleming acknowledged that such events certainly did have an influence, however, he also said, “We already had these goals.” This provided an opportunity for the company to accelerate its minority programs with strong backing from its CEO and board members.

Valdes noted, “Ford noticed over the last five to six years that minority dealer numbers are higher than the regular numbers. Minorities aren’t just getting problem dealerships to be anchored with; they are getting major areas and succeeding in those positions.”

Fleming then added, “We went from a dealer development model to a private cap model. That made a significant difference in how you own the store, pay for the store, and those small changes make stronger stores for these dealers to get.

When asked what would people out there who may be candidates already need to know or take away from this and what should they know about these programs? Valdes explained that working alongside Ford and partnering with NADA and XEM provides unique opportunities for minorities coming through the ranks. Years of experience have come together to provide financial training for candidates while also supplying wisdom that increases their rates of success.

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