Auto companies that recognize the importance of including minority consumers and minority dealers in their overall strategies can build market share, dealer Nathan Conyers said here Monday.
Conyers spoke to dealers and factory representatives at the first NADA breakfast for minority dealers.
Without naming General Motors and Ford Motor Co., Conyers cautioned that any auto company that is tempted to put its minority dealer program on the back burner while it restructures would be risking its own survival.
He also said that minority consumers are fertile ground for building market share because they are underserved by the auto industry.
Conyers, who is black and has been a dealer for 35 years, was the event's keynote speaker.
"If they (auto companies) don't recognize that the minority community in this country is an underserved element where growth can occur, and if they don't see you as a minority dealer as being part of the solution rather than part of the problem, they are going to fail," said Conyers, who owns a Jaguar dealership in Novi, Mich.
"This is no longer a time when affirmative action and diversity is part of our corporate social responsibility. It's no longer part of doing the right thing. It's not a matter of feeling good. It's an absolute imperative for survival."
Conyers called on NADA to work more closely with minority dealer associations such as the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers.
He told minority dealers that they have a responsibility to help other minority dealers.
Said Conyers: "We have to look to ourselves to get where we want to go."
You may e-mail Arlena Sawyers at [email protected]