Since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th, injustices against the black community have been brought back into the spotlight. The Black Lives Matter movement has spearheaded a call to action to address the inequities black people continue to suffer in our country.
In light of this, many companies have made the decision to rebrand well-known products that for years, have depicted black people in a racist manner. From civil war monuments and military bases, to professional sports teams and country bands, Americans are looking inward for ways they can make positive changes and foster equality among all of our citizens.
The auto industry is no different. Dealer Groups, OEMs, and Association leaders must be willing to recognize that black lives do indeed matter. Collectively, the industry has to be held accountable to past missteps, and pave the way for a more diverse and inclusive future. More black representation must be a part of that.
Currently, there are only 265 black franchised dealers out of an estimated 17,300. African-Americans make up over 10% of all new vehicle sales in the U.S., however, less than 2% of the dealer body.
Here to help us address the current state of the auto industry on this very important issue is Peter Welch, President of the National Automobile Dealers Association.
There’s a real need for dealers to be representative of the community they will be serving. When it comes to black representation in dealerships, Mr. Welch says there is “frankly not enough.” There is also room for improvement when it comes to black representation on NADA’s Board of Directors. As it stands, out of 63 board members, only one is African-American.
In terms of helping black people become dealers or helping black dealers acquire additional franchises from OEMs, it is dubious as to how NADA encourages and works with OEMs in that appointment and approval process. According to Peter, the NADA mission does not focus on this area, and they largely defer to NAMAD, the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers, when it comes to black representation.
For their dealer members, NADA provides the following channels to address diversity: solution-based diversity education through the NADA Academy, 20 Groups, and training workshops.
NADA’s Peter Welch Addresses the Lack of Black Representation in Auto Retail