When Zuchowski took over, he told NAMAD that Hyundai's minority-dealer count wasn't where the automaker wanted it to be, recalled Brian O'Malley, director of dealer development for Hyundai Motor America. So Zuchowksi said Hyundai would dedicate itself to improving its numbers.
Then Hyundai's minority rooftops began to surge: The count jumped to 69, up 17, in 2014 — Zuchowski's first year on the job. Over the next two years, the brand added nine stores to reach 78.
O'Malley said Hyundai has been working closely with NAMAD to find qualified minority candidates. He said the brand also had its regional leadership teams increase their emphasis on identifying and interviewing minority dealers. O'Malley attributes Hyundai's ethnic-dealer growth not just to Zuchowski, but to the efforts of its regional staff as well.
During NAMAD's annual conference, Hyundai hosts a reception where it can meet minority candidates. This time is valuable because it allows Hyundai to talk with potential owners and learn details such as their geographic preferences for a store. O'Malley said NAMAD sometimes presents Hyundai with candidates the automaker hadn't known about.
O'Malley said the reception has been "directly attributable" to some of its minority dealer appointments in the past few years.
NAMAD President Damon Lester said Hyundai's progress shows what's possible when company brass steps up and commits to adding minority stores.
"When we see their leadership wants to put forth an effort and says what they're going to do to increase numbers, things happen," Lester told Automotive News on the sidelines of NAMAD's conference here last month. "Even with [interim CEO Jerry Flannery], the commitment remains at Hyundai."
O'Malley said Hyundai's goal is clear: It wants its dealer body to more closely reflect the ethnic makeup of its customers.