There are currently only 1,234 ethnic minority dealers out of the 18,200 franchise new-car dealers. The National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD) is helping support these dealers and bring up the next generation of minority automotive professionals through NAMAD NextGen. Today on the show we sit down with a panel of minority dealers that are closely tied to the NextGen program. Members of the panel include Damon Lester, President of NAMAD, Perry Watson IV, President of NAMAD NextGen, Karmala Sutton, previous President of NAMAD NextGen, and Andre Palmar, member of the NextGen program.
Watson begins the conversation by talking about the purpose behind NAMAD NextGen. Watson says the program is helping set the stage for the future of the automotive industry. Through NextGen, minority dealers of the next generation are receiving training in key areas such as technology and business management. NAMAD is providing lessons in the program through industry leaders and experts.
Sutton then discusses the challenges facing the next generation of minority dealers. She says that, unfortunately, many will face the challenge of just being able to work at certain stores. Many participants in the program are first-generation dealers compared to many other nonminorities that are second or third-generation dealers.
Palmar adds his perspective from being a member of the program. He says that the next generation of minority dealers must be willing to use every resource available to them to find success in the industry. He credits the networking opportunities through NAMAD that have helped him get to where he is in his career, and he encourages other automotive professionals to learn and grow from experienced minority dealers.
Last year, NAMAD celebrated its 40th year anniversary. Lester talks about the importance of the association through the years and what it is doing to prepare for a brighter future. Lester says the NextGen program allows the association to prepare the next generation with education and resources to be successful entrepreneurs. The program is also helping build the presence of minority dealers, giving a bigger voice to a sector of the industry that has been overlooked for far too long.