Friday, May 24, 2024

'Auto Trends' Remembers Lexus First Black Female Car Dealer (1943 - 2024)

Car Dealer Ellenae Fairhurst (Photo Credit: TLMDA)

While It’s been widely reported that women influence over 85 percent of today’s car sales, still, this group only owns less 1,100 out of the approximate 17,000 new-car dealerships in America. When we examine ethnic women, they own approximately 86 stores, according to the National Automobile Dealer Association and the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers.

And, as far as Black women, they barely register on the radar. This group represents less than a tenth of 1 percent of total new car dealerships.

Ironically, in a traditional African American household, Black women are responsible for 51 percent of last year’s new-vehicle registrations, slightly outpacing Black men.

Fairhurst is being honored by the National Association of Minority Auto Dealers. (Photo Credit: Lexus)

More importantly, Black women have surpassed other ethnic and non-ethnic households, in new vehicle registrations, when examining traditional households, according to S & P Global Mobility.

Despite the latest numbers, showing Black women dominating new-vehicle purchases in their household, finding a dealer who looks like them to support and purchase a vehicle from, is like locating a needle in a haystack.

With that said, in 2016, Auto Trends with was honored to talk to Ellenae Fairhurst, one of the pioneering Black female car dealers, after a little coaxing. Fairhurst, who avoided the limelight, hadn’t agreed to an interview in well over a decade. Yet, after our conversation, others became aware of the hidden gem. In fact, later that year, the humble trailblazer was recognized by Ebony Magazine, as one their pioneering trailblazer on their Power 100 list.

Fairhurst, who acquired her first dealership in 1988, followed in the footsteps of two other Black women, who earned their new car dealership keys in 1979 and 1983, that was Barbara Wilson and Jackie Edgar, respectively.

This week on Auto Trends with, in honor of Fairhurst, who transitioned at the age of 81 on April 4, 2024, we are resharing our conversation. Its one that will not only inspire our listeners, while also giving a historical perspective of what women, more specifically what Black women had to weather.

Ellenae Fairhurst, who was Lexus first and only Black female dealer, as well as a pioneering dealer for Infiniti, Chrysler and Dodge, blazed many paths during her era. Prior to Fairhurst's death, the businesswoman owned Huntsville Lexus.

Fairhurst, like the handful of other Black women in her tight-nit car sorority, beat the odds by quietly squeezing through every closed door she encountered in this male dominated industry.

To Tune In On SiriusXM And Free FM Radio Outlets

To Tune In 

To hear the conversation, tune in to Auto Trends with on Saturday, May 25 thru Thursday, May 30. The program will air on SiriusXM 141 and on several FM radio outlets. To access the schedule, click here.

This program is being underwritten by Lexus.

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