Automotive News 40 Under 40

Andrea Baker

AGE: 38

POSITION: Co-general manager, First Texas Honda, Austin, Texas

Andrea Baker

Andrea Baker intended to pursue a career in science, but the car business got in the way.

As a high school senior, she temped as a night receptionist at Spring Branch Honda in Houston. After graduation she began taking science classes at a local junior college, but the dealership offered her a promotion in the accessories department, and "I've been in [the car business] ever since."

A quick succession of jobs at several Houston dealerships preceded Baker's move to Austin in 1998, which she calls, "the best decision ever."

Along the way, Baker met her husband-to-be, Brent, who is now the general manager of a Subaru store in Austin.

After a couple of more dealership jobs, Baker worked as a bank rep for Wells Fargo and Triad Financial to develop some financial acumen. In 2009 she moved to First Texas Honda as a finance manager. She improved grosses at the store, attended NADA Academy and was named co-general manager when the dealership changed to a one-price model.

The shift to one-price selling was successful, with volumes and net profit going through the roof. Along the way, she transformed the sales force into a young team in the Apple Store mode.

Mark Rikess, the one-price advocate who consulted on First Texas Honda's conversion, calls Baker, "a go-getter, very progressive and open-minded. The auto business is a man's world, and she is undeterred."

Baker oversees a store that moves 500 new and used vehicles a month.

"I've been [challenged] every day by men," Baker said. "If I did not hold my ground and come out swinging, they would mow me down in a second." 

-- Mark Rechtin