As of December 2019, there were 1,243 minority-owned dealerships in the U.S., according to data from the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers, a sibling association of NADA. That number rose 2.3 percent from 2018, when there were 1,215 minority-owned stores. Overall, there were about 18,200 dealerships in 2019.
While there's always room for improvement, Welch said, it just makes good business sense to embrace diversity and inclusiveness. "When we take a look at the consistency of our customers' base, it's very diverse: 32 percent of new-car and -truck customers are ethnic minorities and growing," he said. "We need a diverse work force to match that in the communities."
At NADA, about 41 percent of its 160 employees are women and about 20 percent are minorities, Welch said. "We're always looking to improve those numbers," he noted.
From within, NADA has created an internal inclusiveness committee led by Claudia Kropf, vice president of human resources. The eight-member committee is employee-driven and meets monthly to start a dialogue, raise awareness and come up with recommendations for how to improve as an organization.
NADA also has joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Equality of Opportunity Initiative, a nationwide effort to advance economic inclusion through business leadership. Myra Dandridge, NADA's first executive director of external affairs and public policy, is spearheading the endeavor.
"We want to reflect both our communities and our customer base," Welch said.
"People need to be treated equally. And we here at NADA — and the board through its proclamation — has said, 'That's right. We want equality.' "