This month, the Jacob Javits Center in New York is the focal point for the automotive industry as it hosts the 2012 New York International Auto Show from April 4 to April 15. Each year, automotive executives, dealers, suppliers, media, automotive consumers and simply the curious descend upon New York to check out the new cars, trucks, crossovers, hybrids, electrics and futuristic concepts.
On April 4, part of the Jacob Javits Center served as a launching pad for the first Annual NAMAD (North American Minority Auto Dealer Association) Diversity luncheon. The event was hosted by NAMAD President, Damon Lester. Over 50 attendees heard about:
- The current state of minority auto dealers in the U.S.
- Automotive trends of minority consumers
- Customer retention trends and improvement ideas at the dealer level
- Motivational personal story, "When times are tough don't quit and always do the right thing"
- Suggestion for OEMs, established minority dealers and aspiring minority dealers to work together in a formal mentoring / development process to ensure that future minorities are afforded retail opportunities (this plan would include funding support for new dealers from OEMs and established minority dealers)
These topics were addressed by nationally recognized speakers:
- Fenimore Fisher (Moderator) – Managing Partner of R. Fenimore Fisher Group, LLC
- Sara Hasson – Vice President at Univision Media
- Shau-Wai Lam – Chairman of DCH Auto Group
- Jesse Armstead – Former NFL star and current Dealer Principal at Englewood Cadillac and Hamilton Honda
- Marc Bland – Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Polk
Minority consumers (African Americans, Asians and Hispanics) represented one of out of five new vehicle purchases in the U.S. during 2011, yet minority dealers represent only 6% of the 17,800 U.S. new car dealerships. While NAMAD has been in existence for over 30 years and has been steadfast in its efforts to lead progress for the minority dealer community, there is still a lot of work remaining to close the gap between minority sales share and retail representation. Although the luncheon was very successful, I look forward to returning to NY next year for the bigger and better second annual event.
The above are my thoughts on the 2011 NAMAD Diversity luncheon. I would love to hear your comments on this annual event.
Pictured left to right: Fenimore Fisher, Shau-Wai Lam, Glenda Gill, Marc Bland, Alva Mason, Sara Hasson, Jesse Armstead and Don Esmond
Posted by Marc Bland, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Polk (04.12.2012)