According to the Chrysler Group, approximately $200 million was sourced to minority suppliers for vehicledevelopment, manufacturing and logistics support of the 2003 Dodge Ram. Intotal, Chrysler Group sourced more than $3 billion from minority suppliersin 2002, or about 11 percent of its total purchasing spend -- maintainingone of the highest percentages among any auto manufacturer.Minority supplier participation can be found all over the Dodge Ram,through companies such as Bates Manufacturing (vacuum harnesses),Flex-N-Gate (stampings), Mehra Tube (tubing), OEM/Erie (injection moldingparts), and Prime Wheel (wheels).In addition, Vitec Corporation was awarded a $125 million contract tosupply fuel tanks for Dodge trucks. The contract is one of the largestever awarded to a minority supplier by Chrysler Group, says the company."At a time when all industries are facing challenging economic times,Chrysler Group is still committed to maintaining a high level of minoritysupplier sourcing," said Tom Sidlik, Chrysler Group executive vicepresident - Procurement and Supply, and chairman of the National MinoritySupplier Development Council (NMSDC) Executive Committee. "Our commitmentshows that minority suppliers can provide quality goods and services thatare cost-competitive and technologically advanced. Chrysler Group willcontinue its efforts to support and develop minority businesses."Chrysler Group's commitment to minority supplier development spans back to1983. At that time, the Company established the Diversity SupplierDevelopment department and sourced $25 million to minority suppliers.Since then, Chrysler Group has spent more than $21 billion with minoritybusiness enterprises. Currently, more than 300 suppliers in ChryslerGroup's supply base are minority companies.The Dodge Ram 1500 is built at the Warren (Mich.) Truck Assembly Plant, andat the St. Louis (Mo.) North Assembly Plant. The 5.7-liter HEMI Magnum isbuilt in Saltillo, Mexico, and the all-new 2003 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty trucksare built at the Saltillo, Mexico, and St. Louis North Assembly Plants.