By on February 20, 2018

https://www.flickr.com/photos/autohistorian/25516489743/

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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81 Comments on “‘World’s Greatest’ Car Salesman Refuses to Relinquish Title Without Proof...”


  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    All I can say is WOW.

  • avatar
    RHD

    It’s gotta be tough wnen your greatest accomplishment in life was 44 years.ago.
    I’ll bet Barry Bonds will be more graceful when someone hits 71 home runs.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      “It’s gotta be tough when your greatest accomplishment in life was 44 years.ago.”

      You just described the core audience of every classic rock station in America as they look forward to their 50th high school reunion.

      • 0 avatar
        SaulTigh

        As a grown ass man whose number of fucks given is quickly approaching 0, I have less and less desire to even think about attending a high school reunion. I did attend my 15th, and didn’t actually have a bad time, but it wasn’t so cool I’d want to do it again.

        That being said, my grandmother attended her reunions religiously every 5 years. Graduated in 1939 in a class of like 30 people. They kept it up until there were only 5 of them at the last one and now she herself has been dead for 9 years. Wish I cared that much.

      • 0 avatar
        markf

        “It’s gotta be tough when your greatest accomplishment in life was 44 years.ago.”

        You just described the core audience of every classic rock station in America as they look forward to their 50th high school reunion.

        It is only Feb but I am gonna name that comment of the year.

      • 0 avatar
        Sub-600

        The only problem with that theory is that grunge is now classic rock.

        • 0 avatar
          Erikstrawn

          …and other than Eddie Vedder, none of our grunge rock stars survived.

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            Yeah, Layne, Andy Wood, Chris Cornell, lots of wasted talent there. Pearl Jam and Mudhoney came through unscathed. Sonic Youth, while not grunge, did get the ball rolling when they took Nirvana to Europe with them. They broke up a few years back but nobody died.

    • 0 avatar
      whynotaztec

      If my greatest accomplishment was 44 years ago AND a world record I would be ok with that.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      RHD, not tough, but different times and different circumstances. Sales and vehicle deliveries are a lot like hitting a home run in baseball.

      The number of homers hit by sluggers of the past may be fewer than those hit by the sluggers of 2017, but the ones of the past were harder to get because there were fewer games/players, while today’s season is longer.

      The inspiration of the car sales game to me has always been Buickman, with a style and strategy all his own. A method to be emulated by professional sales people.

      And Cal Worthington was the guy to be if you wanted to succeed in the car business. My brother got his start working for Cal.

      C’mon down…..

  • avatar
    V16

    According to the Detroit Free Press, 44-year-old Ali Reda sold 1,530 new vehicles and 52 used vehicles in 2017.
    Congratulations to Mr. Reda.
    Curious as to what his W2 form stated for 2017.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Now I know who sold all these jihad-mobiles to Taliban. Just wondering if they mount 50cal on it at the dealer and how much is that option cost

      • 0 avatar
        Akhil Malhotra

        Wow. Racist much?

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          Do you admire the subject’s accomplishment even though he buried his W2 in his former boss’s grave? Reda has no moral compass. Why are you defending him? Is his race more important than humanity to you? Racist much?

          • 0 avatar
            SaigonDesign

            Uh… I think you mistook Mr. Girard with Mr. Reda.

            Mr. Girard buried his W-2 with his dead boss, not Mr. Reda.

            I was referring to slavuta’s comment saying Mr. Reda must’ve sold pickups to the Taliban to get the sales record.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    So, assuming Reda was only working six days a week and the dealer was closed on Sundays, this guy sold 5.05 cars EVERY SINGLE FREAKIN’ DAY.

    Damn.

    And this Girard guy sounds like a first class d-bag.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      I know a guy who sells Chevys and averages about 300 a year and is considered a stud at his store. That is a pretty astounding number. Obviously he must have some minions to handle the details.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      The dealership might be setup so that Joe or Ali get credit for a sale, where others do much of the work.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        And there could also be Fleet sales involved.

        In 1999 one of my brothers’ dealerships sold 36 stripper F150 trucks to an Electric Co for their meter readers to use.

        Not bad for a Wednesday afternoon, IIRC.

        Didn’t make a whole lot of money but it cranked up the sales stats and that comes in handy at next model year’s floorplan order.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        He probably has people working under him to do the paperwork. The guy I bought my truck from was rated number in the state at the time by GM and he had people working under him. I know he said the number one guy (who I can now assume is Mr. Reda) has about ten people working under him. This is probably why Girard is upset.

        • 0 avatar
          ChevyIIfan

          Yeah, he would HAVE to either a) be selling tons of fleet vehicles, or b) have lower level people writing everything up, with him only doing final approval and getting credit, or c) some combo of a and b above. Because I have purchased several new/used vehicles over my life, and the slowest it took was 2.5 hours, the longest 6. Assuming a middle range of 3-4 hrs per sale, that would mean working 15-20 hrs a day, 6 days a week, all year. Not buying that. So while it might be set up for him to get credit, the guy certainly didn’t sit down with every single buyer. So kind of a phony record for sure.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            A guy like this would certainly have a team that works for him. At the very least a a couple people process paperwork. This guy is selling most of his day, and paperwork is a time suck.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Financing and all of the tertiary details would be covered by other people. Reda gets credit for the sale but “the team” does the rest.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The picture of this Lincoln Mercury dealer reminds me of the one where I grew up. Grand Marquis with every option that would suit a mohel who was used to the smooth ride of their Grand Royal.
    Colony Park wagons for large families who would occasionally tow a camper. Comets and Bobcats for the budget minded during the OPEC embargo. Sporty Capris for secretaries and college grads.
    And of course the Pantera with the reliable American running gear for the upscale buyer who did not want to deal with the cost of ownership of other Italian exotics.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    “Joe Girard, Gentleman Thief”

    What a douchebag.

    I can so see this guy in one of those blue shirts with the white collar and gold tie.

    I get wanting revenge on a former boss who canned you, but the W-2 thing…

    Come on man, keep it classy.

    Hire a bunch of midgets to crash the guy’s funeral or something.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Car salesmen and managers are brutal. They take you by the balls and only strong will could help you to survive and not get raped and robbed in the shop

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Sometimes you have a fire your best producer because he’s a grade A a$$hole.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I’ve got a prima donna on my own staff the knowledge growth experienced by students when she is their teacher has to be seen to be believed.

        Considering she came from nothing (dirt floor poor) and fought and scrapped her way through college and life, she’s kind of entitled to have an inflated sense of her own importance.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I’d be fascinated to see what his lawyers would use as a Cause of Action in their lawsuit. “I think you are a liar because selling that many cars is really hard” is not normally the stuff of which un-quashable subpoenas are made.

  • avatar
    Prado

    Dearborn Michigan says it all. I think it is safe to say a sale entails taking an order from a GM current/ex employee at the predetermined by GM employee price. The used/new split would be a good indicator of this. Dealer Website also lists his assistant as staff. I would say he is very productive, however he is essentially fishing in a barrel… with help.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      I am sure you are right, but records are made to be broken. That and selling a bunch of cars, while difficult, is not exactly the height of human achievement to warrant this reaction.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Hell hath no fury like an embittered senior clinging to past glories. “Get off my lawn!”

  • avatar
    Fred

    Seems like Girard has adopted the Trump business plan of suing anyone you don’t like.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Like President Aladeen, Mr. Girard needs to shut up about this nonsense. Someone beat you, get over it. I wonder if Mr. Reda potentially being an immigrant has any bearing on his nonacceptance of the record.

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    The majority of you snowflakes should count your blessings to reach his age. And remember kids, your time will come and go as well and you’ll be the one left saying “get off my lawn”. Safe spaces need for the commenters around here.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonosisdead

      lol hurry up and turn into grass fertilizer. the man is clearly clutching to his claim for his revenue. I’d hate to see the garbage he shoveled out the factory door onto his customers if he’s this big of a POS.

  • avatar
    brn

    Wouldn’t Guinness have their own validation process? The same process that Joe had to stand up to?

    If Ali can also meet Guinness’ validation process, he gets in the record book. If he can’t, he doesn’t get in the record book and Joe gets to keep his crown. Why does it need to get deeper than that?

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Because it’s progressive era America, hence everything anyone ever does, needs to involve as many lawyers, silly “laws” and trumped up “rights” as possible.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        Now that you mention progressive America, the actual answer might be: Let social media be the judge, jury, and executioner.

        Let’s see what Facebook and Twitter have to say. I don’t have an active account on either, so I’ll wait to see the local news reports on what’s trending on social media.

  • avatar
    Sals

    Maybe not important, but were there no free pics of Merollis Chevrolet available? Or anything Chevy? Holland LM is long gone in Albuquerque. Folks from these parts will recognize Sandia Peak in the background.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Ali Reda my @$$. 1,530 + 52. If he makes [as salesmen often claim] $100 on each new car and $300 on used, he should make nearly $170K minimum. Show me W2 Ali and we will talk. But I think, this is just some fictitious person that exist only to “sell” large amount of cars as part of some kind tax scheme.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      I would hope a salesguy good enough to close anyone coming within half a mile of his gaze, would also be able to close some of them for enough to make more than a hundred bucks a multi-hour deal….. If he sold 1500 cars, unless he made a good heaping more than $170K from it all, he needs to start selling something else.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    My friend’s Mother-in law owns a dealership. We were there one afternoon to get his Alfa Spider Quad that he stores there during the Winter. An older East Indian gentleman approached me and started ‘The Talk’. I nipped it in the bud by telling him I was only there to help my friend get his car. He nodded and walked away. The enduring aspects of this encounter were: A) He was dressed like it was laundry day at home, complete with slippers at work; B) One of his shirttails was protruding from his pants’ zipper like a white cotton penis; and C) He turned out to be the top salesman by a truly massive margin. I guess you really can’t judge a book by – whatever, fix your pants.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Top salesman? – This is because people looked at him and said, “dude, I’ll buy a car. Just go get something nice to wear. It hurt to see you this way”

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Reminds me of a neighbor I had (growing up) who worked in the local GM Powertrain factory. He’d always show up looking like he didn’t have a pot to pi$$ in.

        Dude, you are already going to get the friends and family price. Get over yourself.

  • avatar
    hamish42

    So, in exchange for tens of thousands of your dollars, this guy gives you 12 seconds of his time, passes your paper on to some junior clerk (“new car sales manager”), chalks up a sale, and sprint walks to the next sucker. Thanks for the time and, no, I wouldn’t buy a car off you.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    “It’s very official, trust me,” says a salesman. Riiiiight.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I wonder if either of those records included a fleet sale (or more than one). Selling National–assuming they go through regular car dealers–1000 cars at one time would go a long way toward that record.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I suspect fleet sales would be exempt – it looks like my company bought over 1200 vehicles through one salesperson last year (admittedly, he handles fleet business for an entire dealer group), and I’m sure they have more fleet business outside of us.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I would only assume that it would include Fleet Sales. Still a sale, and they should count if he closed the business.

      What shouldn’t count are:
      -Program cars like “loaner programs” where the dealer sold a car to themselves
      -Nationally negotiated rental deliveries that are basically nothing more than a PDI dropped on the dealer
      -Deliveries dropped on the dealer by leasing companies like Element, Enterprise FM etc.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    1,530 new, 52 used…and in six months probably 800 repossessions.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I am sure what gets Joe’s goat is that he knows he cheated by using “staff” to make sales or doing lots of big fleet sales, etc. to get the record himself in 1973, so he knows better than anyone it is just not possible to honestly sell that many cars in one year. Now Ali has broken his record, and he knows the only way it could happen is that Ali is a better cheater.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    At least Girard will be able to retain the title of World’s Greatest Asshole.

    • 0 avatar
      Robbie

      My thinking exactly. Car dealers are sleazy, and this is a fight for who is the worst man being. I long for the days of ordering cars Tesla style, directly from the manufacturer.

      I recently found similar sleaziness to car dealerships. At the upscale baby gear store that my aunt works at, sales tactics are effectively to pretend shock, horror and a look of viewing child abuse in live action if you dare to suggest buying a stroller under $800.

  • avatar

    in my youth, I read many books seeking knowledge and the right path. DeLorean’s grabbed my attention, Sloan’s provided information, Durant’s brought me to Flint, Girard’s detailed the map. 42 years, 27,000 individual retails deals later, and Guinness aside, I will testify that Joe was the greatest. were it not for him, his willingness to share his secrets, I would not been nearly as successful. keep the crown Joe. you deserve it sir.

    I actually paid to go to one of Joe’s seminars after having led Buick multiple years. it was my pleasure watching this master share what sales is all about.

    “you have to believe in yourself, or no one else will”. thank you Joe!

  • avatar
    Menloguy

    This being Detroit in the early 1970s, a lot of the 1400+ sales of Chevys and Cadillacs were probably made to GM employees who purchased their cars at a discount under an employee purchase program at a time when GM didn’t have much competition yet from the likes of Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai – these cars probably sold themselves without much effort on the part of the dealer. The ferocity of this former salesperson’s response to the new sales record is not really warranted; it’s not like his patent for a disease-curing genome was infringed upon…

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    It’s all the guy had, he’ll do anything to hold onto it. It’s like that battle they had over the Lone Ranger’s mask years ago, Clayton Moore wanted to wear it but some company owned the rights. The old buzzard wouldn’t stop until they sued him.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      On a certain level, I get where he’s coming from – he makes money off the cred from this. It’s business.

      But he doesn’t have to be such a jerk about it.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      At which point Moore switched out the mask for dark sunglasses. As a childhood fan of the TV show I felt sorry for Moore. The role was the biggest thing that had ever happened to him, and I think that he really believed in the ethos of the Lone Ranger. The owners of the character wanted him out of the way for their movie reboot which failed (as did the Johnny Depp fiasco), after which they let him wear the mask again.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Life is full of “one shot wonders”. Some go on to become a Gates, Bezo’s or Jobs. The rest end up being immortalized in songs like Bruce Springsteen’s Glory Days.
        Clutching tenaciously to a title earned in earlier in one’s life is a sign of a life not well lived.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    So, the lede photo – is that a picture of where Girard actually worked in 1973 (Holland Lincoln-Mercury), or is it just a stock photo? I’m wondering how many Capris he sold?

    • 0 avatar
      Sals

      Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/autohistorian/25516489743

      http://www.autonews.com/article/20111031/CHEVY100/310319926/joe-girard-a-man-for-the-record-books-sold-13001-chevrolets-in-15
      “At Merollis, Girard set up his own retail empire within the dealership. He eventually took customers only by appointment and hired two people to manage the flood of customers. Girard paid those employees out of his own pocket. They found out what buyers wanted, whether they had a trade-in or would qualify for a loan. Then Girard did the selling.”

  • avatar
    yankinwaoz

    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.

  • avatar
    Pricha33

    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.

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