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National Latino Automotive Council to Meet with Major Foreign Manufacturers

LOS ANGELES--Hispanic auto dealers, industry suppliers and national leaders of major Latino business organizations will meet with senior representatives of Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, BMW and others on June 11 and 12 in Los Angeles. The first National Latino Automotive Conference is designed to address opportunities for entry and growth for Hispanics amidst traditional concern for inequality within the industry.

A recent survey confirmed that of the more than 27,000 auto dealerships and franchises in the United States, less than 3 percent are Hispanic-owned. In light of the constantly growing Hispanic marketplace, National Latino Automotive Council leaders are determined to jump-start new dealerships and supplier contracts for qualified Latinos throughout the country.

Five years ago we faced the inequalities and financial hurdles of establishing a base of Hispanic owners and suppliers among the Big Three American auto manufacturers. Today, with the giant market share that foreign car companies enjoy, it is essential that we create a level playing field for qualified Hispanic would-be dealers and those who service the auto industry. Clearly, the timing is right, with Toyota having surpassed General Motors as number one, said David Lizarraga, Chairman of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the Automotive Conference.

The $800 billion purchasing power of 35 million Hispanics in the United States should be enough to convince industry leaders that a far greater number of Latino dealerships are in order, and a similar growth in collateral industries that provide products and services for the automobile world is needed, said Hector Barreto, Chairman of the Latino Coalition.

Lizarraga and Barreto are co-chairs of the conference, sponsored by the growing national Latino Automotive Council. Some 250 current auto dealers and contractors as well as Hispanic business leaders and public officials from throughout the country are expected to participate in candid face-to-face sessions with foreign dealer decision makers.

This is not a make-nice reception, but a serious meeting with serious people determined to bring about change and to use their market strength and brand loyalty to achieve it, said Al Pina, Council co-founder.