During these unprecedented times, the Coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide protests for racial equality have tested the automotive industry. It has forced its leaders, governing bodies, OEMs, and dealers to look inward and address the underlying issues head-on. Today, we’re pleased to welcome back Tony Caldwell, President of You Drive Auto, an independent dealership in Elyria, Ohio.
Coming off of back-to-back, record breaking months for sales, Tony attributes this spike to federally mandated stimulus checks, and programs like the Payment Protection Plan. Lots of consumers have an influx of cash at the moment from these services, and a portion of those customers have put that money towards a vehicle.
While his business is seeing positive recovery trends, Tony is saddened by the social unrest surrounding racial discrimination. He says that racism has not necessarily been getting worse, but it has been filmed and circulated now more than ever. Growing up, Tony says that he endured various racist aggressions in many different places; at many different ages. Going through that adversity has propelled him to succeed in the world.
“As an industry, what we need to emphasize is education,” says Tony. “If you look in the state of Ohio, there are 825 franchised dealerships. There are only 11 that are owned by minorities. Of the 11, 2 of them are owned by African-Americans.”
Tony firmly believes that educating the incoming generations about the potential opportunities they have in the automotive industry is crucial to moving forward.
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