According to the Chrysler Group, approximately $200 million was sourced to minority suppliers for vehicle development, manufacturing and logistics support of the 2003 Dodge Ram. In total, Chrysler Group sourced more than $3 billion from minority suppliers in 2002, or about 11 percent of its total purchasing spend -- maintaining one 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 molding parts), and Prime Wheel (wheels). In addition, Vitec Corporation was awarded a $125 million contract to supply fuel tanks for Dodge trucks. The contract is one of the largest ever 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 minority supplier sourcing," said Tom Sidlik, Chrysler Group executive vice president - Procurement and Supply, and chairman of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Executive Committee. "Our commitment shows that minority suppliers can provide quality goods and services that are cost-competitive and technologically advanced. Chrysler Group will continue its efforts to support and develop minority businesses." Chrysler Group's commitment to minority supplier development spans back to 1983. At that time, the Company established the Diversity Supplier Development department and sourced $25 million to minority suppliers. Since then, Chrysler Group has spent more than $21 billion with minority business enterprises. Currently, more than 300 suppliers in Chrysler Group's supply base are minority companies. The Dodge Ram 1500 is built at the Warren (Mich.) Truck Assembly Plant, and at the St. Louis (Mo.) North Assembly Plant. The 5.7-liter HEMI Magnum is built in Saltillo, Mexico, and the all-new 2003 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty trucks are built at the Saltillo, Mexico, and St. Louis North Assembly Plants.