Nathan George Conyers
Former Ford and Jaguar Dealer
Prior to his retirement in December 2007, Nathan George Conyers had the unique distinction of being the second longest-tenured African American retail vehicle dealer, with 38 years in the industry. He was awarded a Ford dealership in Detroit in January 1970, and subsequently received a Jaguar franchise in Novi, Mich., in 2001. What distinguishes Mr. Conyers is his singular and sustained commitment to minority dealer issues.
A Detroit native, Mr. Conyers received his law degree from Wayne State University and began practice in the city as well as doing work for several federal agencies. His brother, John Jr., also a lawyer, was elected to Congress in 1964 where he remains today as the longest serving African American in the House of Representatives.
At the behest of his family, he began a crash course in Car and Dealership Retailing 101, and participated in every training program offered under Ford’s Marketing Institute. When a Ford dealership on West Grand Boulevard became available, Mr. Conyers took control with his brother. The family dream of owning and giving back to the city of Detroit had been realized in January 1970.
During the mid-1970s, with few African American-owned dealerships, Mr. Conyers was instrumental in forming and leading organizations to assist the development of minority auto dealers, including the National Black Automotive Dealers Association and the Ford Lincoln Mercury Black Dealers Association. The formation of FLMBDA brought about the first regular meetings with Ford management to address issues facing minorities and a 1984 corporate directive detailing the company’s commitment to diversity in dealer networks and established objectives. FLMBDA was reorganized and renamed the Ford Motor Minority Dealers Association. Mr. Conyers became first chairman and president of the National Association of Minority Dealers.
From 1970-1986, Mr. Conyers operated his West Grand Boulevard dealership and in 1986 acquired a downtown dealership. In 2001, he merged the two operations, forming Conyers-Riverside Ford. In that same year he was awarded the Jaguar franchise in Novi, Mich.
His awards include Commitment to Excellence Award, Howard University School of Business and Public Administration; Business Achievement Award, Booker T. Washington Business Association, 1990; 25 Year Award, Ford Motor Company, 1996; North American Customer Excellence Award, Ford Motor Company, 1998; Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award, 1999.