NADA, NAMAD Officials Open Up About the Lack of Diversity in Automotive


Black representation in the automotive dealer body has been severely lacking for decades. In fact, there are only 265 African-American owned dealerships out a total of 18,200 in the country. Desmond Roberts, NADA vice-chairman of region III and president of Advantage Chevrolet joins Damon Lester, president of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers on the CBT show to discuss the importance of diversity in the automotive industry.

In this segment, Desmond talks about his impact as the only black member of NADA’s 63 board of directors. The pair also discuss the lack of diversity in the auto industry, the biggest challenges minorities face when trying to become a franchise dealer, and what the industry can do to encourage more minority dealers, salespeople, technicians, and OEM executives. Minorities face obstacles in the automotive industry that their white counterparts do not, and both Desmond and Damon continue to try and level the dealer playing field.

Desmond Roberts has been in the automotive industry for over 30 years after getting his start through General Motors’ dealer training program. In addition to his role at NADA and running his Illinois-based dealerships, Desmond is also the former chairman of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers.

Damon Lester has served as the president of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers since 2007 and has provided key testimony to Congress on numerous occasions on behalf of dealers nationwide. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Americans Well-informed on Automobile Retailing Economics.

Did you enjoy this interview with Desmond Roberts and Damon Lester? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic with host Jim Fitzpatrick at

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