Hispanic auto dealers, suppliers and national leaders of major Latino business organizations plans to meet with senior representatives of Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and BMW this month at the first National Latino Automotive Conference.

It is designed to address business opportunities for Hispanics.

Pointing to the growing Hispanic marketplace, National Latino Automotive Council leaders hope the conference will help 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 (American) auto manufacturers,” says David Lizarraga, chairman of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the upcoming conference.

“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,” he says.

The $800 billion purchasing power of 35 million Hispanics in the U.S. “should be enough to convince industry leaders that a far greater number of Latino dealerships are in order,” says Hector Barreto, chairman of the Latino Coalition.

The coalition cites a survey that says Hispanics own less than 3% of U.S. dealerships.

About 250 current auto dealers and contractors as well as Hispanic business leaders and public officials are expected to meet with import auto executives.