U.S. Black Chamber pressing auto dealers for fair return on Black dollars
African-Americans projected to spend $24 billion on automobile industry this year
U.S. Black Chamber President/CEO Ron Busby signs Memorandum of Understanding with NAMAD President Damon Lester. Marc Bland, IHS vice president of diversity and inclusion, looks on.
By Hazel Trice Edney
WASHINGTON, D.C. — This year alone, African-Americans are projected to spend as much as $24 billion on new cars and other vehicles from America’s auto industry. Yet, research shows that, commensurate with their spending, Black consumers have little to show for their support of car dealerships, except the shiny new purchases in their driveways
That’s the reason that a new agreement between the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) and the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD) was established to start solving that problem. The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed late last month, is to forge relationships with Black vendors and suppliers with hopes to “open millions of dollars of opportunity to Black businesses across the nation,” says Ron Busby, president/CEO of the USBC. “The end goal of these agreements is to leverage USBC’s professional relationships to provide more tangible contracting opportunities for our small business members and to facilitate collaboration in the Black community.”
The announcement of the MOU took place at a press conference sponsored by Hyundai North America during the USBC’s recent 2015 School of Chamber and Business Management, an annual gathering with a goal of fostering growth of small Black businesses and economic development across the country. In a recent interview, Busby explains what the new MOU means to Black auto dealers and the Black community as a whole.
“The amount that African-Americans spend on vehicles is inappropriately unequal as it relates back to the number of dealerships that we own as well as the amount of money that those particular brands market to the African-American consumer,” he says. “And so what we hope that this does – this new relationship that we’ve established – is we want to showcase the power of the African-American dollar and recirculate that dollar so that our Black dealers can now increase the number of employees that they have working on their staffs.”
Busby points out that “the number of dealers that are owned by African-Americans is decreasing at a high rate. We have fewer dealers that are owned by Black folk now than we’ve ever had in history. But, yet we have more Black consumers who are buying vehicles than we ever had. We just got to support them like we have to support our Black banks as well as our Black media.”