How does a car salesman walk onto "The Late Show With David Letterman" and sell the irascible host a new Ford Fusion in a few seconds? We asked Manhattan Ford salesman Ahmed Younes, who did just that last month.
During his show on Feb. 18, Letterman had dug into a gripe with Nissan and sponsorships, making fun of the Nissan Juke to his producers' chagrin while admitting he's one of the 20,000 Americans who has an electric Leaf on order that's yet to be delivered: "I'm hopeful there's going to be one at my funeral."
At some point, his producer passed him a note asking him to praise Ford, setting Letterman off even further. Finally, he decided to hold a competition, announcing he would buy a car from either a Nissan or Ford dealer, depending on which one got to his show first. (Since the show was being taped, only the studio audience knew his plan.)
Younes, who's worked as a car salesman for four years, got there first. Jalopnik asked him for the backstory:
So how did you land this assignment?
Younes:The call came in about 6:30 p.m. or so, someone asked us if we could go over to the David Letterman show, saying its going to be fun, just take a car with you. I heard it, then I got a message from a colleague saying I don't feel like going, so I said I'd go.
There was a competition — they had called a Nissan dealer and a Ford dealer. So we shot over there, and when we pulled up the cameras were already shooting. I didn't know I was going to be on the show, but suddenly they're putting a mic on me.
Did you know he was going to buy a car?
Younes:No. Not even on stage. I didn't actually realize I was on stage until I walked out, and there's the audience on my right, and there's the backdrop. I just had to deal with it and go when he said he was going to buy it. Then he started haggling about the price, and it was just like an actual deal.
You're lucky you didn't drive over in a Fiesta.
Younes:They just told us to come. It was the one he wanted.
The sticker on the car was $27,500. Letterman haggled you down to $25,750. Who got the better end of the deal?
Younes:I did, I did. I got the publicity of it. We got to be on national TV representing Manhattan auto, and Ford Motor. It was great for us, we've come a long way and it's great value for the cars.
You can see the segment with Younes here about 29 minutes into the show.