Annual Student Auto Skills Contest Kicks Off April 11 In Florida With More Than $5 Million In Scholarships Available

Orlando, Fla. – 4/10/2003

The nation’s largest competition for high school auto technicians gets underway Friday, April 11, in Daytona Beach, Florida, according to co-sponsors Ford Motor Company and AAA. Millions of dollars-worth of prizes and scholarships will be awarded over the next few months, as competitions are held in all 50 states culminating in a National Finals contest, June 24th, on The Mall in Washington, D.C.

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition is for high school juniors and seniors. It provides two-student teams enrolled in high school automotive technology courses the chance to test their abilities in accurately diagnosing and servicing identically “bugged” vehicles. The top winning team from each state also earns the right to compete for national honors and prizes.

(Note to editors: Contest information for each state — including dates, locations and local contacts — is available at: www.aaa.com/news.)

This year, students are competing for more than $5 million in scholarship dollars and prizes, as well as bragging rights to be considered among the best student auto technicians in the country.

Contests in each state and at the national level are organized with the support of AAA’s Approved Auto Repair program and local educators. AAA’s Approved Auto Repair program is a member and public service that independently inspects and approves repair facilities nationwide.

Ford Motor Company provides technical assistance, vehicles and equipment for the state and national contests. Each state championship team wins scholarship funds for the Ford ASSET (Automotive Student Service Education Training) of FACT (Ford Accelerated Credential Training) programs. Participants in the ASSET program can earn a two-year associate degree in automotive service and get a chance to “earn-as-they-learn” by working at Ford or Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. Ford’s FACT is a 14-month automotive service training program offered in conjunction with Universal Technical Institute. The FACT program gives students the ability to gain Ford credentials at an accelerated rate.

Scholarships also are available to contestants from some of the nation’s top technical schools: Nashville Auto-Diesel College, Nashville, TN; University of Northwestern Ohio; Ohio Technical College, Cleveland OH; and Universal Technical Institute schools in Phoenix, AZ, Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Glendale Heights, IL, Mooresville, NC, and Houston, TX.

As North America’s largest motoring andleisure travel organization, AAA provides its 46 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-ptofit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at www.aaa.com.

# # #