upwards of four-fifths of the initial investment
required (10 percent of a dealership's
purchase price) under Ford's original
dealer development program, according
to company officials.
FLMNP representatives are quick to point out that their program is not for beginners. Candidates must have a minimum of five years' dealership experience and two years' managerial experience. The selection process includes interviews and background checks.
Joseph Arredondo, the program's first beneficiary, has more than 15 years of car dealership experience. Similarly, Riverside's Mr. Alvarez owned three used cardealerships in San Diego before getting his current operation through Ford's dealer development program.
For all of Ford's high-profile outreach efforts, its stable of Hispanic dealers has increased by just five in the last year, according to Osvaldo Garcia, diversity strategy manager for minority dealer development at Ford. He says the total reflects sales and consolidations involving existing Hispanic-owned dealerships as well as the opening of new ones.
"You have to remember, these are privately, independently owned businesses, and if the owners want to sell them there is nothing Ford can do about it," he says.