Chrysler Group announced it has received the National Minority SupplierDevelopment Council's (NMSDC) "Leadership Award". The company says the award recognizes Chrysler Group’s long-term leadership inproviding opportunities for minority business suppliers. Since 1983,Chrysler Group has spent $21 billion with minority suppliers and is thearchitect of several mentoring and matchmaking programsdesigned to enhance minority supplier development.The award was presented at the NMSDC’s 14th Annual Awards Dinner at theHilton Towers Hotel in New York, where more than 1,300 corporateexecutives, minority business owners and government officials gathered forthe council’s national conference and business opportunity fair."The Chrysler Group is an acknowledged leader in developing minoritysuppliers, the most energetic, entrepreneurial force in America," saidHarriet R. Michel, president, National Minority Supplier DevelopmentCouncil. "Chrysler Group’s support of minority business development, andthat of our other corporate members, helps build the foundation for astronger, more equitable society in which all can flourish."The NMSDC recognized Chrysler Group as “Corporation of the Year” in 1986,1993 and 2000.“Chrysler Group has actively supported minority businesses for 20 years --regardless of the economic environment -- and the development of minoritysuppliers has been a corporate priority,” said Dieter Zetsche, presidentand CEO of Chrysler Group. “The progress we’ve made is the result of astrong, long-term commitment throughout our organization. We alsoappreciate the efforts of the NMSDC, whose hard work has helped keep thespotlight on the importance of developing minority business enterprises.”Chrysler Group says it has several initiatives in place to develop and enhanceminority supplier development. This includes a mentoring program whereChrysler Group Procurement & Supply executives work directly with minoritysuppliers to assist in their growth and development. The goal of eachrelationship is to help suppliers cut costs, improve quality and increasenew business opportunities outside of Chrysler Group, says the company.Additionally, the Company has a "Matchmaker" program, which helps to pairminority suppliers with majority suppliers to increase businessopportunities among the two companies.“The strategic goal of our Diversity Supplier Development program is toencourage and create broad-based economic opportunities for our suppliersand their surrounding communities,” said Thomas W. Sidlik, Chrysler Groupexecutive vice president -- Procurement & Supply and NMSDC executivecommittee chairman. “In addition, we’re proud of the role all of ourminority suppliers play in the successful design, development andmanufacturing of Chrysler Group vehicles. It proves that when given theopportunity, minority businesses have the capability to providecompetitively priced, high-quality components and services to vehiclemanufacturers.”For example, Chrysler Group sourced more than $200 million to minoritysuppliers for vehicle development, manufacturing and logistics support ofthe 2003 Dodge Ram. Minority suppliers supporting Dodge Ram include: Vitec(fuel tanks), Flex-N-Gate (stampings), Mehra Tube (tubes), OEN, Erie(injection molding parts), and Prime Wheel (wheels). Chrysler sellsapproximately 400,000 Dodge Rams every year.Chrysler Group says it is the first corporate member of both the MMBDC and theNMSDC to win Corporation of the Year in the same year.The NMSDC is a national organization dedicated to increasingprocurement and business opportunities for minority businesses andmaximizing procurement opportunities for minority business enterprises withcorporations and public-sector buying organizations. The goal of the NMSDCis to assist minority businesses in becoming long-term, qualified entitiescapable of competing in the national and international economic mainstream.