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Jesse Jackson leads delegation of minority suppliers to Japan to meet automakers

(April 2, 2014) The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition is leading a 13-person delegation to visit leading automotive companies in Japan, April 2-9, 2014. The delegation will meet with corporate leaders of Toyota, Nissan and Honda at their Japan headquarters, with the goal of building primary trade and business relationships with these automotive companies and establishing a significant Japanese network for U.S.-based, African- American suppliers and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

The delegation plans to meet with the companies' Executive leadership, as well as, with their Purchasing and Research & Development Teams to discuss future business opportunities for US-based businesses.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition's Automotive Project has a two-decade track record of engaging and forging partnerships between African American suppliers and dealers and the automotive industry. Their work has resulted in billions of dollars worth of contracts, dealerships, community engagement/investments, and advertising and marketing deals for African American businesses.  However, as the economic downturn took place in recent years, many African American businesses and communities were devastated by the automotive industries' decisions to cut budgets, suppliers, employee base and community support.

"Many African American and ethnic minority companies have not recovered or enjoyed the benefits of the auto industry's growth," said, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., founder and president, Rainbow PUSH Coalition.  "As the auto industry continues to bounce back, the issue of minority inclusion must be placed front and center on the industry's agenda. From dealers to suppliers, from marketing and advertising programs, to community reinvestment, minority communities and businesses must be empowered to grow as the auto industry revs up again."

The automotive industry plays a central role in the economic development of ethnic-minority communities in the U.S. While, the U.S. ethnic-minority communities are a growth investment opportunity for the automotive industry.

- In 2013, ethnic-minority consumers purchased 24% of vehicle sales, with African Americans making up 8% of those new vehicle sales.

- Ethnic-minority consumers led new vehicle purchases faster than the rest of the marketplace with a growth rate of 56%, with African Americans making up 33% of that growth rate.

- The top three brands for U.S. ethnic-minority consumers in 2013 was Toyota with 18% of the market share; Honda with 13%; and Nissan with 10%.
The Rainbow PUSH delegation will discuss a Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan based upon the Rainbow PUSH Automotive Diversity Scorecard issued in January of 2013. 

The Rainbow PUSH Automotive Diversity Scorecard provides a snapshot of each manufacturer's success at building and sustaining ethnic diversity and inclusion. The scorecard reflects the most visible indicators of a commitment to diversity by key stakeholders, minority constituencies and minority companies utilizing benchmarks and best practices. 

The scorecard's focus areas are: corporate leadership and HR; suppliers/procurement, dealers, advertising and marketing, philanthropy and community reinvestment.  The scorecard's basic purpose is to establish accountability and institutionalizing diversity within a company.
"The auto companies have a long way to go," says Rev. Jackson. "The scorecard reflects that minority dealers and suppliers, and advertising agencies are not equal partners with the auto companies.  We will seek a true reciprocal relationship between the auto companies and people, businesses and communities of color."

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