NAMAD chairman Fernando Varela discusses the value of diversity programs in retail auto

Fernando Varela

Minorities in the retail automotive space often face a number of challenges in all avenues of the industry. In 1980, the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers was created as a way to advocate for diversity and inclusion. Since then, the organization has grown tremendously and continues to advocate for minorities today. Here to talk more about the organization and its impact is NAMAD’s chairman Fernando Varela, who is also the president and CEO of Varela Group.

In this segment, Varela and anchor Jim Fitzpatrick discuss his career in the auto retail industry, and the importance that being a member of NAMAD has had on himself and others. Next, the pair tackle what the industry needs to do in order to attract more minorities at all levels from technicians to salespeople, to dealer principles and OEM executives.

Then, Varela talks about some of the biggest challenges minorities face when trying to become a franchise dealer. As well as, the struggles that he faced personally. Lastly, Varela gives us his perspective on the future of the auto industry in a post-COVID world.

Fernando Varela’s career in the retail automotive industry began nearly 30 years. He started as a field representative for Ford Motor Company. At the suggestion of his boss, Varela applied for a two-year training program offered by Ford. After completing the program, Varela worked for a Ford dealer in Houston, Texas. Today, Varela Group is comprised of three Ford dealers, one Chevy GMC Buick Cadillac dealership, and one farm and recreational vehicles dealership.

Did you enjoy this interview with NAMAD Chairman Fernando Varela? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic with host Jim Fitzpatrick at

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