Chrysler Group announced it has received the National Minority Supplier Development Council's (NMSDC) "Leadership Award". The company says the award recognizes Chrysler Group’s long-term leadership in providing opportunities for minority business suppliers. Since 1983, Chrysler Group has spent $21 billion with minority suppliers and is the architect of several mentoring and matchmaking programs designed to enhance minority supplier development. The award was presented at the NMSDC’s 14th Annual Awards Dinner at the Hilton Towers Hotel in New York, where more than 1,300 corporate executives, minority business owners and government officials gathered for the council’s national conference and business opportunity fair. "The Chrysler Group is an acknowledged leader in developing minority suppliers, the most energetic, entrepreneurial force in America," said Harriet R. Michel, president, National Minority Supplier Development Council. "Chrysler Group’s support of minority business development, and that of our other corporate members, helps build the foundation for a stronger, 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 minority suppliers has been a corporate priority,” said Dieter Zetsche, president and CEO of Chrysler Group. “The progress we’ve made is the result of a strong, long-term commitment throughout our organization. We also appreciate the efforts of the NMSDC, whose hard work has helped keep the spotlight on the importance of developing minority business enterprises.” Chrysler Group says it has several initiatives in place to develop and enhance minority supplier development. This includes a mentoring program where Chrysler Group Procurement & Supply executives work directly with minority suppliers to assist in their growth and development. The goal of each relationship is to help suppliers cut costs, improve quality and increase new business opportunities outside of Chrysler Group, says the company. Additionally, the Company has a "Matchmaker" program, which helps to pair minority suppliers with majority suppliers to increase business opportunities among the two companies. “The strategic goal of our Diversity Supplier Development program is to encourage and create broad-based economic opportunities for our suppliers and their surrounding communities,” said Thomas W. Sidlik, Chrysler Group executive vice president -- Procurement & Supply and NMSDC executive committee chairman. “In addition, we’re proud of the role all of our minority suppliers play in the successful design, development and manufacturing of Chrysler Group vehicles. It proves that when given the opportunity, minority businesses have the capability to provide competitively priced, high-quality components and services to vehicle manufacturers.” For example, Chrysler Group sourced more than $200 million to minority suppliers for vehicle development, manufacturing and logistics support of the 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 sells approximately 400,000 Dodge Rams every year. Chrysler Group says it is the first corporate member of both the MMBDC and the NMSDC to win Corporation of the Year in the same year. The NMSDC is a national organization dedicated to increasing procurement and business opportunities for minority businesses and maximizing procurement opportunities for minority business enterprises with corporations and public-sector buying organizations. The goal of the NMSDC is to assist minority businesses in becoming long-term, qualified entities capable of competing in the national and international economic mainstream.