LAS VEGAS -- Dick Harris, former owner of Dick Harris Cadillac in Detroit, died here Feb. 13. He was 73. A memorial is scheduled for 11:00 a.m., Friday, June 7, at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit.
According to a history of African-American new-car dealers on aacardealers.com, Harris joined General Motors in 1961, left for a time and was rehired in 1968. He played a key role in GM's early efforts to recruit minority dealers and was assigned to work at a GM-owned dealership in New York to learn the retail business.
Aacardealers.com is a Web site established by the now-late Rusty Restuccia, a former head of Ford Motor Co.'s minority dealer program who researched and wrote extensively about the history of minority-owned dealerships.
In 1971, Harris was brought to Detroit, where he helped develop and launch GM's Dealer Training Academy in 1972.
In 1978, he was appointed to a Cadillac dealership in Detroit, which became Dick Harris Cadillac. A 1997 story in Black Enterprise magazine said that in 1981 Dick Harris Cadillac was the nation's largest black-owned dealership with $14.1 million in sales. The store was closed in 1987.
Harris later started an automotive consulting firm and worked as an interim operator/consultant for GM and Ford.