FCA US is extremely proud of its recent success in increasing the number of our minority-owned dealers across the country. Since 2012, the number of minority dealers in our network has increased from 140 to 185, representing a 32% increase in less than two years.
We are also proud that 17% of FIAT franchises in the U.S. are minority-owned, representing the highest single brand percentage in the industry. In order to continue to develop and grow the number of our minority dealers and candidates, FCA US has instituted a number of programs:
• Dealer Candidate Development Program: Through this program, minority dealer candidates who are existing managers at FCA US dealerships are trained in all aspects of owning and operating a dealership. By the end of 2013, Chrysler will have invested more than $1 million in this program. Our initial class of five candidates graduated last year and one graduate has already been placed into a dealership opportunity. Our second class of five candidates is scheduled to complete the course in early 2014. In each class, four of the five candidates were African American.
• Financial Support for Minority Dealer Training: Under this initiative, FCA US pays one-third of the training costs for eligible minority dealer principals (up to $5,000 per principal per year), in order to help ensure they are best equipped to operate their dealerships efficiently and maximize profitability.
• National Dealer Council Representation: To ensure minority representation, FCA US reserves one seat for a minority dealer on our National Dealer Council. This is the only reserved position on the Council; all other positions are elected.
• Financial Support for the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD): Each year, FCA US makes a significant monetary donation to NAMAD to support training and education programs, offer networking opportunities, and provide regulatory updates for minority dealers. Our representatives participate in NAMAD’s national convention and industry panels each year to engage minority dealers on relevant topics from a manufacturer’s perspective.
• Market Investment Program: To help ensure that funding alone is not a deterrent for prospective dealers, FCA US has assisted by directly funding and operating start-up dealerships under our Market Investment (MI) Program. Under this program, MI candidates must make a significant investment, subject to loss, but FCA US provides a facility and the majority of the start-up capital for a new dealer to begin operations. Over time, the dealer buys out FCA US's financial stake using profits from the dealership, with the goal of eventually gaining full ownership. Historically, a large percentage of our MI dealer participants have been minorities.