Since its founding in 1980, NAMAD has collaborated with policy makers and auto manufacturers to establish fair and sustainable business practices for minority dealers in America.
Currently, ethnic dealers account for approximately 8 percent of total U.S. dealerships. When Lester became president of the dealer advocacy organization in 2006, the total minority dealership count was just short of its an all-time high at 1,756, according to NAMAD data stats. However, when the subprime mortgage crisis crippled the economy a few years later, 54 percent of the ethnic dealerships were forced to close their doors, bottoming out in 2010 with only 811 stores still standing.
During this turbulent period, Lester, at the time, who was in his early to mid-thirties, was charged with leading the remaining dealers through the storm. His contributions were pivotal to regrowing the number of ethnic dealerships by approximately 68 percent from its all-time low.
Lester, who was recognized by Automotive News in 2022, as one of the top diversity champions in the industry, will reflect upon this dark period in history, along with the impact it had on him, and the community of minority dealers. Moreover, the automotive dealer historian will also reveal for the first time why the COVID-19 pandemic propelled him to hand the keys to NAMAD over to Hugene Fields, who was appointed president last fall.
To Tune In To Part One Of The Damon Lester Conversation
To hear the conversation, tune in to Auto Trends with JeffCars.com on Saturday, February 18 thru Thursday, February 23. To get an updated schedule and/or to tune in, click here.
To Tune In To Part Two Of The Damon Lester Conversation
To hear the conversation, tune in to Auto Trends with JeffCars.com on Saturday, February 25 thru Thursday, March 2. To get an updated schedule and/or to tune in, click here.
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