Ford, Toyota recognized by Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Push for commitment to diversity


Jesse Jackson says Toyota “seems 
to have the idea that doing business with us is good for business, not the cost of doing business.” Photo credit: VINCE BOND JR.

DETROIT — Ford, Toyota, General Motors and Nissan received strong ratings in the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s 2018 Automotive Diversity Scorecard released this month.

The coalition also praised Hyundai, which has vaulted to No. 4 in the industry in minority-owned dealerships in recent years — jumping past Toyota, Honda and Nissan.

The scorecard, released during the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund’s Global Automotive Summit here, judges automakers on their commitment to improving diversity in employment, advertising, marketing, procurement, dealers and philanthropy. The scoring comes in three colors: green, which is the highest level, yellow and red.

Green signals that a company is using best practices to build ethnic diversity and has shared its goals, initiatives and investments in this area. Yellow indicates diversity is evident, but not all dollar investments, key figures and other factors were disclosed.

Kudos for Toyota

Red means a company’s diversity initiatives were nonexistent or undisclosed or that there was not relevant information provided for scoring.

Automakers can also get red scores for failing to complete the survey, which happened last year with BMW and resulted in coalition President Jesse Jackson calling for a boycott of the company. The coalition and BMW have since met and discussed the company’s minority dealer network and other diversification efforts. BMW had 21 minority-owned dealerships of 361 stores at the end of 2017, down one from 2016, according to the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers.

“When we first challenged the industry, we were isolated to being on the assembly lines,” Jackson told Automotive News. “Our demands have increased to be on boards and C-suites.”

Walking the walk

Al scorecard from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund on automakers’ efforts to promote diversity puts Ford and Toyota at the top, with green ratings in 5 of 6 categories.
  Employment Advertising Marketing Procurement Dealers Philanthropy
Ford G G G G Y G
Toyota G G G G Y G
General Motors G Y G Y G G
Nissan Y G Y G Y G
Hyundai Y Y G R Y G
Fiat Chrysler ** R G G Y G
Honda Y Y Y G Y G
Subaru Y Y Y Y Y G
Kia Y Y Y R Y Y
Mercedes-Benz Y R R Y Y Y
G — Reflects best practices for ethnic diversity using RPC/CEF criteria. Release of goals, initiatives and investments with some accountability (based on survey and other confidential information provided to RPC/CEF)
Y — Some indication of diversity evident (goals, initiatives, accountability). Not all dollar investments, key figures and other scorecard factors disclosedR
R — Diversity initiatives and investments nonexistent, undisclosed or relevant information not provided for scoring; did not submit completed survey
*NAMAD assisted in ratings.
** Could not be evaluated because of pending litigation

Congratulating Toyota’s diversification strategies, he added that the automaker “seems to have the idea that doing business with us is good for business, not the cost of doing business.”

Ford and Toyota had green ratings in five areas, with yellows in the dealer category. Ford ranks second in the industry with 170 minority-owned stores of 3,214 dealerships overall, while Toyota is fifth with 72 minority rooftops.

GM landed four green ratings, including the dealership category. The automaker paced the industry in minority dealer appointments in 2017, bolstering its ethnic roster by 16.

Wanted: ‘Good bench’

Nissan and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles each had three green ratings, while Hyundai had two. Hyundai still had a yellow rating in the dealership category, but the automaker has made gains.

In 2011, Hyundai ranked seventh among automakers in minority-owned dealerships with 48. But by the end of 2016, the Korean automaker had vaulted to 78 minority-owned rooftops, pushing it to fourth. At the end of 2017, Hyundai’s minority-dealer count was 85.

NAMAD credited former Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski, who took the helm in early 2014, with making the commitment to expanding its minority-dealer base. Zuchowski was ousted in December 2016, but Hyundai has said that it will continue to build its roster of minority dealers.

Brian Smith, Hyundai Motor America’s COO, said the company still has work to do in the dealer and suppler sectors.

“We need to do a better job of actually building the base of our supplier candidates so when there are bids going out, we don’t wait to see who offers up a bid, we know right where to go. We go out and solicit the bids,” Smith said during a panel discussion with Jackson.

“Same thing for our hiring process and dealer channels,” he said. “We’ve worked with [NAMAD] for years on how to get better at building a good base of talent for new dealers … . We want to come up with a really good bench.”

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