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Story #35180 Degrees AutomotivePhoenix, AZ

My vision has always been to create a place where nobody would ever have to feel the way I did when I was a young girl and mechanics would talk down to me.

Who has more power to change the world, a lawyer or a mechanic? Like most people, Sarah “Bogi” Lateiner believed lawyer to be the correct answer. Which is why she vigorously pursued a pre-law degree in college. But a funny thing happened along the way: she opted to let her passion for doing the right thing be her guide. Now as owner of 180 Automotive in Phoenix, she has pioneered a new breed of auto mechanic.

Back in high school, Lateiner experienced what many women experienced – the local mechanic assuming she knew nothing about cars. Not wanting to be taken advantage of, she learned how to fix her mechanical problems herself, unknowingly setting her along a path that would lead to a thriving career.

After college, Lateiner’s drive to become an attorney began to wane. Instead, she fell back on what she knew and loved, deciding to dedicate herself to her automotive passions to become a BMW certified mechanic.

Something was still missing though. She had a good job but when she attended a high school reunion, her spark to become an entrepreneur was lit.

“I ran into all of my friends at the reunion,” Lateiner said. “They were doing all of these amazing life-changing things. They were in Tanzania digging wells or they were starting library programs in the prisons and I was like, ‘I just fixed this dude’s really expensive coolant leak.’ I realized I was not doing all I was cut out to do with my life. I wanted to do something bigger and more impactful than just fixing cars; not that that isn’t enough in itself but it wasn’t enough for me.”

She went back to her job, but her heart wasn’t in it. “I walked out of the dealership where I was working,” recalls Lateiner. “I was butting heads with management and needed to go outside to cool off. I looked up and saw a bumper sticker that read, ‘Problems are rarely changed by the mindset that created them.’ I walked back in and quit.”

Lateiner spent the next 18 months fixing cars in her driveway for her friends. That dedication and hard work led eventually to 180 Automotive, a place modeled after her own experiences. “We want to empower our customers so they never have to feel the way I did when I was a young woman and mechanics would talk down to me.”

Today, 180 Automotive has eight employees, six of whom are women. 180 Automotive also provides educational classes so owners can learn more about cars, and provides Lateiner with a platform to pursue all the other endeavors she is passionate about. She is one of three female hosts on the Velocity Channel show “All Girls Garage.” She also mentors other small business owners and is committed to making a difference in her community. It’s all part of Lateiner’s passion for empowering others.

Photos by Nadav Neuhaus

  • Lauren Gibbs examines a vehicle at 180 Degrees Automotive, 545 W. Mariposa St., Phoenix, AZ, on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.

  • Angel Chacon works on a vehicle at 180 Degrees Automotive, 545 W. Mariposa St., Phoenix, AZ, on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.

  • Since founding 180 Automotive in 2006, Lateiner has consistently fostered a workplace open to females - mechanics and customers alike.

  • Mechanic Angel Chacon at 180 Automotive.

  • Although Lateiner wants to keep spreading her vision for the automotive industry, she stills plans to keep 180 Automotive small and focused on Phoenix.

  • 180 Automotive owner Bogi Lateiner wants to do more than create opportunities for women in the automotive field, she wants to reinvent the entire industry.

  • Now that 180 Automotive has a trusted staff and strong systems in place, owner Bogi Lateiner spends less time "turning a wrench" and more energy focused on community outreach, new business consulting, and teaching.

  • Bogi Lateiner wrote down every stereotype for the automotive industry: Confusing, manipulative, greedy and over-priced. 180 Automotive is her promise to be 100 percent opposite of that. Even her break room has a window. "If the stereotype is things happening behind closed doors and you don’t really know if you can trust, we need everything to be wide open so everything is open," says owner Lateiner. "The employee break room has windows in it so the customers can see in."

  • Lauren Gibbs examines a tool at 180 Automotive.

  • A technician works on a vehicle at 180 Automotive.

  • Owner Bogi Lateiner doesn't want 180 Automotive to just be a business-- she wants to be an active piece of the community. In addition to partnering with other businesses and hosting weekend tutorial classes, they have also transformed their lobby into an art gallery for local artists.

  • Of the eight employees at 180 Automotive, only two are male. As part of owner Bogi Lateiner's mission to create a more welcoming environment for females, she has developed an apprenticeship program. Open only to women, this program offers training for individuals interested in the auto industry.

  • It took 180 Automotive four moves to make it from Bogi's driveway in 2006 to their current location. Now in a five-bay garage, they have officially settled into their "forever" home.

Business Details

Proprietor: Bogi Lateiner
545 W Mariposa St. Phoenix, AZ 85013
PH: 602-476-247 / Website
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