MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- The National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers celebrated its 35th birthday this week here at its annual conference.
Dealers -- 345 of them -- and 395 of their friends, family and associates showed up to conduct some business, pay homage to the group’s past and celebrate its future.
Representatives of several manufacturers were on hand to publicly outline the state of their minority dealer efforts and to hold private one-on-one meetings with dealers, former dealers, aspiring dealers and dealership managers, all of whom want to acquire dealerships.
During a panel discussion, representatives of BMW, Ford Motor, General Motors, Gulf States Toyota and Hyundai offered advice to dealers and others about how to present themselves and their business plans to their respective companies.
Want to impress Ford? Include a digital strategy that details how to use digital resources to communicate with customers.
Sending pro forma information that doesn’t make sense? That doesn’t fly at BMW.
Also on hand for the meeting were three former dealers who were among the pioneers that started and nurtured the group.
They are Bill Shack, a former Honda dealer; Nathan Conyers, a longtime Ford dealer who also operated a Jaguar franchise; and Mel Farr, who once operated the nation’s largest African American-owned dealership group, according to Black Enterprise magazine in the 1990s.
Keeping an eye on the future and succession planning, the association also hosted several Next Gen sessions tailored for the sons and daughters of dealers, and workshops for women dealers, managers and executives.
The conference was also a platform to introduce Perry Watson, president of Lexus of Mishawaka in Mishawaka, Ind., who took over the role of NAMAD chairman, succeeding Tom Moorehead, who owns BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce dealerships in the Washington, D.C., area.
So here’s a birthday wish for NAMAD:
May your members’ stores be profitable and prosperous, their dreams to expand their businesses come true and their needs for capital be met.
Staff Reporter Arlena Sawyers covers minority dealers and the remarketing world for Automotive News.