Guinness freezes super salesman record instead of letting it be broken

Joe Girard becomes 'historic record holder' for yearly car sales

Guinness World Records has taken a step back from the dispute between two record-setting car salesmen. Earlier, we wrote about strong-selling Joe Girard, who sold a record number of cars in 1972 and was so eager to defend his title that he disputed the new record claimed by Ali Reda. Instead of granting the super salesman title to Reda, who reportedly sold 1,582 cars last year, Guinness is now retiring the car sales category and granting Girard the title of a "historic record holder" with his 1973 achievement of 1,425 vehicles.

Even if General Motors is backing up Reda's sales numbers, Guinness says that there is no way to "sufficiently verify the figures," Automotive News reports. Apparently bookkeeping was different in the days of Girard, who gets to keep his status for the foreseeable future.

In a statement to Automotive News, a Guinness spokesperson wrote: "The organization requires a clear and independent analysis of the competition, either through market analysis or from a global institution who monitors sales in the industry in order to confirm a record holder in this category. Following extensive research, it appears that no such institution exists, and market research would be deemed insufficient according to our guidelines."

In other words, it's not enough for Guinness that General Motors confirms Reda's accomplishment, independent from the dealership Reda works for, Les Stanford Chevrolet and Cadillac in Dearborn, Mich.

Reda told AN he was willing to pay for an independent audit, but, "I sent Guinness an email saying this is going to be costly. Before I move forward with this, I just need to make sure that you are going to accept this as proof," Reda said. "And then they sent me back that they decided to remove the category."

In addition to all this, Girard has sued Reda, saying that the dispute has affected his book sales and speaking appearances, and that the negative publicity has resulted in "ignorant emails" and "emotional harm."

"Why would you even think about suing someone for beating your record?" Reda asked. "How does that even make sense? I'm going through it and I don't understand it."

Looks like what started as a by-the-numbers recounting of a strong sales performance has soured the deal for everyone involved — especially considering that Reda viewed Girard as an industry legend growing up, reading his books and hoping one day to sell cars like Girard did.

"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," Reda told the Detroit Free Press in February. "I had a completely different image of what this would look like. It's a shame Joe just couldn't accept, congratulate and embrace all of this."

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