Driving For Dollars

Nissan venture with the LA Urban League hopes to increase minority franchisees

In an effort to place more African Americans in the driver’s seat, Nissan Motor Corp. USA and the Los Angeles Urban League recently teamed to form a partnership to intended to enhance opportunities for would-be automobile franchisees.

The partnership has two parts: the Minority Dealer Recruitment and Outreach Program and the Supplier Diversity Program. Together, they allow the LA Urban League, through its Ron Brown Business Development Center, to provide training and technical assistance to those interested in either owning dealer ships or securing contracting opportunities with Nissan.

Founders National Bank of Los Angeles (No. 15 on the BE FINANCIAL 25 list) will work with dealership candidates putting together their financial packages. ‘It costs $3.5-$4 million to start a Nissan dealership and as much as $6 million to start an Infinity dealership, the luxury franchise of Nissan.

“One of the critical issues is that you can get people who qualify, but then there’s no money,” says Jerry Florence, vice president of communications and strategic development at Nissan and a member of the LA Urban League board of directors. “So this allows us to leverage our partnership.”

According to John Mack, president of the LA Urban League, the partnership greatly increases opportunities for many African American businesses seeking contracts or other inroads with Nissan.
While there are currently no African American- or minority-owned Nissan dealers in Los Angeles, according to Florence, both groups say they plan on generating four or five new black-owned dealerships in the next three years.

For more information about franchise opportunities, contact the LA Urban League Business Development Center at 310-419-8745.

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