Joe Girard sold 1,425 cars in 1973, and over 13,000 in an impressive 15-year stretch that later led to a career as a motivational speaker. Ali Reda sold 1,582 cars in 2017, besting Girard by some margin. Girard, initially, was extremely unhappy about this, but now has changed his tune a bit. He’ll accept it, he told Automotive News, once it’s all been audited and verified.
As we’ve covered here before, Girard is an insanely intense person, more intense than your average person, more intense than is probably healthy for one person to be. His intensity burns with a brightness that is almost hard to look at. Here’s an anecdote from an old Automotive News profile that I still think about maybe once a week:
He borrowed $10 from his manager to buy groceries and sold 18 cars during his second month on the job. But the owner fired him after complaints from other salesmen. Girard went to Merollis Chevrolet in suburban Detroit and set sales records year after year.
But Girard never let go of being fired. Every year he mailed a copy of his W-2 to his old boss, with a note at the bottom telling him, “You fired the wrong guy.” After his old boss died, Girard says he even took a W-2 to the cemetery and buried it atop the man’s casket.
Girard doesn’t forget! Girard never forgets. Girard’s challenge to Reda’s claim, then, isn’t all that shocking in hindsight, but threatening to get lawyers involved took it to a new, slightly unseemly level, since it was never likely that Reda made-up his claim. How do we know that? General Motors said it was true, for one thing, and if it’s one thing that automakers obsessively track, it’s the sales numbers of their cars. GM also honored Reda at a ceremony at the Detroit Auto Show. Still, Automotive News, provided some more context in an update they posted yesterday, saying that five times prior, salespeople have claimed to have beaten the record, only to be proven wrong.
“I don’t take no one’s word. I want somebody to go into the dealership and audit every sale. Make sure they are his, and not someone else’s,” Girard says.
Sure. Anyway, people from Guinness are now on the scene, Auto News says, which seems to be the verification Girard’s looking for, and he says he will “congratulate [Reda] like you wouldn’t believe,” once it’s been confirmed to his satisfaction. Which, good! Give it up already, Joe. Though if Reda’s claim turns out to be an elaborate ruse, I’m here for that post as well.