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NAMAD Pres. Damon Lester discusses recent growth in minority-owned dealerships

Minority-owned dealerships are on the rise according to recent numbers from the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers. As 2020 came to an end, the auto retail industry reported a total of 1,257 minority car dealerships. Joining us on the show today is the President of NAMAD, Damon Lester, who discusses what contributed to the rise in minority dealers and why this growth is so important. 

Lester begins the conversation by discussing the growth of minority-owned dealerships. Lester says that while more can be done, considering there was a global pandemic, everything has been positive. Lester adds that during the Great Recession, about 40% of minority-owned car dealership stores were lost. That equated to a couple of hundred dealerships that were lost and never came back. Lester says he would love to see more growth in minority dealerships.

Lester says, as far as minority dealers carrying on their legacy, a lot of the high-profile stores took a hit and ended up closing last year due to the pandemic. He says it’s a work in progress and it also depends on if the children want to take ownership of the store. Also, it’s figuring out if parents want to sell the stores to them. Lester says, for the next generation, he’s urging them to be approved by the manufacturer in order to run the store. To help better prepare them, NAMAD has partnered with Ally to create a dealer assessment program that launches in July.

With the tragic passing of George Floyd, Lester says it shed a light on minority car dealers as a whole. Every OEM is paying attention to their diversity and inclusion efforts. The main issue is keeping this conversation at the forefront of people’s minds and focusing on the business benefits of diversity. He continues to say, non-minority dealers are creating spaces to ask how they can help and what can they do. Lester thanks CBT News for allowing minority dealers’ issues, challenges, and history to be heard.

Lester brings the conversation to an end by stating that not only OEMs but publicly traded companies also need to come up with diversity strategies, internally and externally. He wants to see minority-owned dealerships continue to grow.

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