Meet Ellenae Fairhurst: The First Black Woman to Own and Manage a Lexus Car Dealership


By Victor Trammell

It’s a fact that women represent a vast majority of the consumer base in the auto sales industry in America.

However, when you look at the demographics of the owners of car dealerships in this nation, women represent close to eight percent of the population that is in the ownership bracket of the auto sales industry. Black women represent only one percent of the eight percent of all women who own car dealerships in America.

Until recently, no black woman had ever owned a luxury car dealership in America. But a woman based in
Huntsville, Alabama has just made history by breaking the color barrier for women in the luxury auto sales industry. Ellenae Fairhurst is the first and only woman of color ever to own and manage a Lexus car dealership franchise in America.

Fairhurst’s knowledge of the auto sales industry and years of experience as a lead car dealership decision-maker has put her in the position she is in today. Earlier this year, Fairhurst also became the first woman of color to own an Infinity car dealership franchise as well.

Fairhurst is a native of Dayton, Ohio. She began her career in the automotive industry as a secretary at the Ford Motor Company in 1968. Fairhurst remained with Ford for 17 years and parted ways with the company after working in a variety of positions.

In 1988, Fairhurst opened her first car dealership, which was a Chrysler franchise in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The business was very successful and many cars were sold within the first five years. Fairhurst was able to pay off the dealership in just eight years. She didn’t get this franchise with borrowed money.

“It was all discretionary income,” Fairhurst said in an interview with Jeff Fortson of

According to Black Enterprise Magazine, Fairhurst’s Lexus and Infinity dealership franchise is one of the top 50 black-owned dealerships in America.




Leave A Reply