'World's Greatest' Car Salesman Refuses to Relinquish Title Without Proof

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
8216 worlds greatest car salesman refuses to relinquish title without proof

For over four decades, Joe Girard has held the Guinness World Record for the most automotive sales in a single year. The 89-year-old retiree is so proud of his achievement that his own website proclaims him as the greatest retail salesman in history while simultaneously urging you to purchase his sales training books, DVDs, and audio CDs. However, he appears to have been trumped by a Cadillac and Chevrolet salesman from Dearborn, Michigan.

Girard is having none of that and has decided to challenge the validity of the new record. “This guy claims he beat my record of 1,425 new cars that I sold in 1973,” he stated. “What I did immediately, I called my attorney.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, 44-year-old Ali Reda sold 1,530 new vehicles and 52 used vehicles in 2017 — more than enough to beat Girard’s record

“It’s very official, trust me,” said Gary Stanford, whose father founded the dealership. “Ali is the hardest worker I’ve ever seen. And if someone doesn’t believe the data, well, they’re more than welcome to consult with GM. It’s all there in black and white.”

Reda appears to have the utmost respect for Girard and even attributed some of his methods to helping him break the record. “I read his book, ‘How to Sell Anything to Anybody,’ and it said it would teach you how to become the best,” he explained. “He’s an absolute legend in the industry. Your whole career, you’re chasing his name. So now his reaction, well, it’s kind of a gut shot.”

“I mean, I would be honored to shake his hand,” Reda continued. “Joe Girard is a big figure in our industry. His accomplishments don’t diminish my work. He set the pace for me. He gave me a goal.”

Unfortunately for Reda, Girard remains convinced that shenanigans are afoot. He said he has already spoken with two lawyers, had his wife call the dealership and challenge the claims, and ultimately intends to go to the dealership himself and demand to see physical proof of the sales record.

“If somebody beat my record, honestly, I would be proud of that person,” Girard told the Free Press. “My attorney is going to get a court order to go into that dealership and have him audited … We want to know if the company’s giving numbers they shouldn’t. If they did, they will be sued beyond their wildest dreams. The dealership knows the numbers. They better be careful, according to my attorneys. We’ll make sure no games are played or we’re going to get that dealer big time.”

Girard’s response has surprised GM officials and owners of dealership. They invited Girard and his wife to attend an awards breakfast at the Motor City Casino on last month to honor Reda’s accomplishment. The couple declined to attend. It could have been worse because, despite being a legendary salesman, he doesn’t appear to be a particularly forgiving person.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Girard doesn’t let go easily. The 2011 Automotive News article said he never forgave a boss who fired him. He mailed a copy of his W-2 annual earnings statement to his old boss with a note at the bottom telling him, “You fired the wrong guy.” After the boss died, the article said, Girard took a W-2 to the cemetery and buried it atop the man’s casket.

While irrefutably awesome, this tale of revenge doesn’t paint the man as a particularly sensitive human being. Conversely, Reda’s colleagues and customers have described him as uniquely gracious, helpful, and humble. They claim he has requested that some customers save their money and return in a year or two when their financials are in better shape, and has occasionally referred business to competitors whose vehicles better fit a customer’s lifestyle.

As that doesn’t sound like the best way to break a sales record, we suspect the truth on both men lies somewhere in the middle of what’s being portrayed. However, it is far more exciting to imagine two completely opposite forces at odds with one another. Making Reda into an overly sympathetic individual while crafting Girard into a pathological monster makes for good reading. We’re kind of hoping this whole thing spins wildly out of control and ultimately becomes a hilarious independent film or touching documentary.

In the meantime, Girard’s wife says he’s still waiting on the proof and refused a follow-up interview with the Detroit publication. “Are you kidding, after Joe was nice enough to talk to you and told you there should be an audit done, you still wrote a story without doing your checking first,” Kitty Girard wrote in a letter. “People are taking it the wrong way. Like I told you, we would be the first to congratulate him after these sales have been substantiated by an auditing firm!”

Meanwhile, Reda’s 2017 sales have been officially submitted to Guinness World Records for approval. Guinness, which is based in England, confirmed an assessment of the record has begun.

“That’s huge. That’s a head-shaker. It’s like the number is wrong, but it’s not,” said Terry Burns, executive director of the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association. “He sells more cars than probably the average dealer in the state, and he does it himself.”

[Image: Alden Jewell/ Flickr ( CC BY 2.0)]

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  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on Feb 21, 2018

    He is going to sue who for what exactly? What was damaged that needs money to fix? His feelings? I'd love to be on that jury.

  • Pricha33 Pricha33 on Feb 21, 2018

    I am not sure about the B&B but who doesn't secretly want to go and bury a copy of Guinness Book of Records with Reda in it on top of Girard's grave. Of course the crotchety one seem to live a long long time, so it could be a bit of a wait.

  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.