Augie Rodriguez is a force in the Automotive industry: those who know her will tell you she’s a leader that isn’t afraid to charge into battle for what she believes. She’s the kind of woman who gets things done but who’s also humble and selfless at the same time. Those two characteristics, among others, have positioned her for success in her dealership and allowed her to become General Manager at Chrysler Jeep Dodge City of McKinny. After moving to the U.S. as a young girl from Argentina, she’s forged her very own American Dream and has brought others along with her along the way. When she’s not breaking down barriers in the dealership, she’s surfing the Tasty website for her next killer recipe.
We sat down with Augie so she could share her experiences.
How did you get involved in the automotive industry?
Well that’s easy. It’s always been a family thing. My family moved here when I was two years old from Argentina, and my dad tried his hand in other industries but eventually landed at a car dealership. I grew up in the car business; I was practically raised on the showroom floor. When I was in school, I started working around the dealership: in the body shop, in accounting, and then when I started working fulltime, in F&I.
Now you’re the General Manager. What has gotten you to where you are now?
I think it’s the desire to always be learning. I always tell my team: knowledge is the most important thing. If you know the product, know the process and know the customer, it speaks volumes to the customer. Every day I feel like I’m learning and I always challenge myself so I can gain more experience.
I also never took “no” for an answer, especially when it became a “you probably can’t do this” kind of thing. I’m extremely competitive, so when anyone suggested I couldn’t do something, I made sure I could prove them wrong.
What do you love about your job?
I love that it’s different every day. I get to try my hand at a million different things, I’m never bored.
I also love that I can make a tangible difference. The way I’m able to give back to my community and to my customers, it’s not some far away change. I can see the joy I bring someone when they’re going through hard times and I’m able to get them into the car they need. I can see how my community is a better place because our dealership is able to give back. It’s all first-hand and makes it more meaningful.
What are you most proud of?
That’s a big part of it. I also love that I’ve been able to break down stereotypes. With a name like Augie and a position like General Manager at a car dealership, people call expecting to hear a man’s voice. Then I answer and they’re surprised, and I get to prove that a woman can do the job just as well (and maybe sometimes better!). That means a lot to me.
It also means a lot to have a loyal Hispanic customer base. It’s humbling to me when customers choose us, especially when they drive an hour or more to come to our dealership. For example, a large part of our Hispanic customer base comes from Grand Prairie which is an hour away. Other dealerships have been known to take advantage of Hispanic customers, especially with the language barrier, but we pride ourselves on serving our customers honestly. That’s what brings them back.
Tell me about your relationship with other minority dealers.
Let me tell you, minority dealers are kind of like a sorority in college. It’s this super tight-knit bond with a lot of support and open communication. The other dealers are so open and they all want everyone else in the community to succeed. We share our success stories and pass along advice about what works and what doesn’t instead of holding back in order to be competitive. But we’re always looking to help one another.
How do you feel you’ve encouraged others in the industry?
I’m proud to give my customers and my team a different version of the American Dream. I truly believe I am the American Dream. I came here, and with the help and encouragement of so many along with hard work, I’ve succeeded and am able to give back. I feel so blessed with the opportunity, and I want to share that support and that dream with others.
CDK Global is proud to work with inspirational Hispanic dealers like Augie who have done so much for the industry. During Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ll be sharing more stories like his and more about how to connect with Hispanic shoppers. Check out our latest infographic to learn more about ways you can connect with Hispanic shoppers.