Minority car dealer ranks grow
“We have built strategic partnerships with financial institutions, created allyship with automotive brokers and recruited high-performance dealers in addition to dealer candidates using nontraditional methods to yield our No. 2 industry ranking,” said Wadette Bradford, manager of dealer network diversity and investment for Stellantis North America.
“Our goal is to be the No. 1 OEM of choice for minority dealers, and we continue to build on these facets for continued success.”
Among minority groups, Asian-owned dealerships saw the most growth last year with 62, bumping the total to 361. The African American store count, after years of stagnation, rose by 27 to 292. Hispanic-owned stores were up 17 in 2021 to 591.
There was a net increase of two for Native American-owned dealerships.
NAMAD’s Lester said some automakers have gotten creative to increase their minority dealer count. Honda, for example, has exercised the right of first refusal in some cases to get minority candidates into dealerships.
Lester, who became a dealer himself last year by buying Nissan of Bowie in Maryland, said minority candidates looking to own their first stores can’t be too picky.
“You don’t have an opportunity to cherry-pick your first opportunity,” Lester said. “I’ve been told ‘no’ more than probably anyone in the world. So you just can’t take the ‘no’ for granted. You have to stay true to what you believe and what you know that you can do.”