The automotive industry has grown to become one of the most important industries in the United States. According to a recent report from the Center for Automotive Research, the automotive sector has historically contributed 3 – 3.5 percent to the nation’s overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The industry directly employs over 1.7 million people engaged in designing, engineering, manufacturing, and supplying parts and components to assemble, sell and service new motor vehicles. Additionally, the industry is a huge consumer of goods and services from many other sectors. As a result, it’s difficult to imagine manufacturing surviving in this country without the automotive industry.

Unfortunately, minority representation in the automotive industry, specifically in the numbers of minority dealership owners and operators, has not maintained pace with changes in American demographics and consumer purchasing trends. This is particularly significant given the U.S. Census Bureau’s projection that by 2043, the current “majority” demographic will become the minority population.

Additionally, NAMAD’s research indicates that:

  • 30% of all new vehicles are purchased by minorities.
  • Only 5% of American automotive dealerships are minority-owned.
  • 95% of minority dealers are first-generation ownership.
  • Growth of minority dealerships has not fully recovered from peak numbers in 2005 before the economic downturn.

Clearly, much work remains to be done to drive diversity and inclusion levels higher in the automotive industry and NAMAD appreciates the opportunity to take a leadership role in the process.

For more historical perspective, please see our documentary videos, “Making Tracks: History of Minority Dealers”