Dave Baker is a driving force in a tough field

Not long ago, Dave Baker, with 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, looked around and couldn’t believe what he saw: new vehicle sales sinking like a stone; the Big Three car makers swamped by their foreign counterparts and drowning in red ink, laying off thousands of workers and closing plants.

Baker also saw something else: opportunity.

Last fall, he quit his job making $75,000 a year as a used vehicle manager for Leggat Auto Group, which owns car dealerships throughout Ontario.

Then he went on his own, opening an independent dealership in Newmarket in the middle of January.

Yes, January. Yes, used cars.

“I walked away from that job, cold turkey and started this, not on a hope and a prayer, exactly, but I just love what I’m doing. I’ve got a good business plan, a good strategy,” Baker said.

He’s betting that he can make inroads into a difficult industry in a particularly difficult time. He’s striking out on his own, but also following in the family business. Dave Baker Sr., now retired, opened a car dealership in the late 1950s and sold cars for decades…

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