By Steve Gamel
Luis Castillo thought he knew exactly what he was signing up for when he was tapped to be the new general manager at Baker Nissan in November 2019. For years, Baker Nissan was a beacon of light for car shoppers in North Houston who craved an out-of-this-world car-buying experience. But the family-owned dealership was suddenly struggling in a number of key areas, including its ability to wow customers.
It was Castillo’s job to regain the dealership’s swagger and get everything going in the right direction again.
“I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and all the great things we could accomplish. And then last year here comes March,” Castillo said of the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatened to make turning things around that much harder. “It was my first tenure as a GM. But I believe integrity, honesty, and taking care of customers and employees fixes any problem.”
To say that resolve and commitment to doing right by people helped take Baker Nissan to greater heights — in the middle of a pandemic, no less — would be a massive understatement. The 86,000 square-foot dealership opened 31 years ago with a dedicated body shop, service facility, rental department, and the largest selection of new and pre-owned Nissans in the area. None of that has changed, but it is once again a sales giant and the top store in its district when it comes to living and breathing the customer experience. They continue to win a slew of Owner First Awards of Excellence from Nissan, far more than any dealer in Houston, and, well, you can’t go wrong when it comes to finding a great vehicle.
This includes the 2021 Nissan Rogue and various other stylish cars, trucks, SUVs, and drop-top sports cars you might have your eye on. Whether you’re a first-time car buyer or someone who needs help from a reliable service department, Baker Nissan has you covered. You’ll always be greeted by their friendly staff of knowledgeable sales associates whose goal is to offer a warm, low-pressure, hassle-free buying atmosphere.
“It’s all about taking care of the customer and asking employees at every level to be involved and not be afraid to make a decision,” Castillo said. As a customer, this means none of your time will ever be wasted waiting on final approval from someone who’s not even at the dealership. “From the valets to everyone in management, everyone should feel like they can make a decision when it comes to taking care of the customers. That mindset turned the experience around for us.”
At the heart of that turnaround is the dealership’s insistence on having a family atmosphere, something that starts with employees like Castillo, who embody passion and hard work and have dedicated themselves to the business. While Castillo has only been a GM for a year, he’s certainly not a new kid on the block. He started in the car business in 1984 as a wash guy and has literally held every position imaginable over the years — from car washer to valet, service advisor, cashier, warranty administrator, and dispatcher. Since joining the Baker family in 2004, his roles have included service manager, service director, and fixed operations director. He also has experience running multiple stores.
That journey has allowed him to do what he loves while also providing for his adoring family. Castillo and his wife, Vanessa, will have been married for eight years this September and have eight kids.
“I came here as a foreign exchange student in 1983 and started in the car business as a summer job. I’ve done just about all of it, and I work for the best guy and family in town,” Castillo said. “The Baker family has been nothing but incredible to me and everyone here. They are appreciative of what you do for them, and they take care of their employees. I’ve never seen a dealership take care of its employees as this family does.”
19630 Northwest Freeway
Houston, Texas 77065
Sales: (281) 201-6350
Service and Parts: (281) 406-3583
Collision: (281) 407-7264