NADA panel: Improve diversity, or you’ll be ‘left behind’

“If you look at most car companies’ websites and you can’t see yourself, it sends the message that this industry isn’t for you,” she said at the NADA show.

Wise, who is also the chief marketing officer of digital auto sales and finance platform AutoFi, said there are 1,100 female-owned dealerships in the United States, but only 70 of them are owned by women of color. Stated.

“If you can figure out how to attract women of color, everyone wins,” Wise added. “You will attract women. You will attract the next generation.”

Diana Kennedy, general manager of Volvo Cars Marine in San Rafael, Calif., said if dealers didn’t focus on diversity, fairness and inclusion, they would be left behind.

“If dealers aren’t tech-ready and aren’t looking to digital showrooms, they’re going to be left behind,” she said. For DE&I “it’s the same thing”.

Both Kennedy and Wise say dealers need to be proactive about improving diversity.

“The biggest way we can win is by matching our employees with us. [store location’s] Demographics,” said Kennedy. “So it means the male-to-female ratio, or diversity.”

At last year’s convention, NADA announced it was partnering with the National Urban League on a workforce development initiative aimed at recruiting, hiring and training more women and minorities in franchised dealers.

The initiative consists of two pilot programs, Technician Apprenticeship and Dealer Internship, designed to promote and improve DE&I among the next generation of employees in the automotive retail industry.

The league’s New Orleans chapter is leading the development and recruitment of the technician apprenticeship program, and the Louisiana Auto Dealers Association is helping set up the training portion.

Dandridge said the apprenticeship program is currently in the recruitment phase, with up to 20 candidates expected to be selected.

“We plan to expand the program once the 18-month pilot is complete,” said Dandridge. “We are currently in talks with national chapters to expand to other affiliates across the country, so we are very excited about that as well.”

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