By Robert Stitt
Fairhurst is the owner of Lexus of Huntsville in Huntsville, Alabama. Where’s the wall? Simply put, up until now, black women didn’t own Lexus dealerships. In fact, black women don’t own many car dealerships at all, let alone a Lexus dealership.
According to Auto Trends, women make 85 percent of the car buying decisions in America, yet, only 975 of the roughly 20,000 new-car dealerships in the United States are owned by women. Minority women are represented even less with only 56 dealerships. The National Association of Minority Auto Dealers reports that of these 56 dealerships, there are only 6 black female owners, which amounts to less than 1% of the total.
If this isn’t surprising enough, Marc Bland of IHS Automotive notes that black women register more vehicles than black men and any other female demographic. In fact, they “have surpassed other ethnic and non-ethnic household new vehicle registrations by women by a whopping 11 percentage points.”
So, when Ellenae Fairhurst opened her Lexus dealership, it wasn’t just against the odds, it established a new set of odds. She is not just the only black female to own a Lexus dealership, according to Eurweb, she is the only female ethnic minority to do so. Before you take your hat off to her, she holds another accolade as well. Fairhurst is also the first black woman to own an Infinity franchise.
Black Enterprise notes that Fairhurst got her start as a legal secretary working for Motown records in the 1960s. She later got involved with Chrysler, Plymouth, and other American-made cars in Detroit before looking to the luxury market.
Infinity Division Vice President Tom Orbe said this about Fairhurst, “Ellenae is such a vivacious person. She is fully devoted to customer service and ensuring that her customers are treated well and remain happy.”
Fairhurst says of herself, “I’m constantly dealing with customers. My job is to ensure that they are satisfied. And I feel that we are going to do that very well here.”