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Immigrant Reveals Secret to Breaking Record for Car Sales


Car salesman Ali Reda sold 1,530 new vehicles in Michigan last year, about 130 a month, breaking a record set in 1973.

Extreme. Odd. Spectacular. Inspiring.

World records — and breaking them — are fascinating to watch and include all kinds of human achievement.

Car salesman Ali Reda has broken a record that was etched in the history books in 1973: He sold 1,530 new vehicles last year, about 130 a month, beating the former record holder, Joe Girard, by 105 cars. (Girard is now 89.)

"I am the first one there and the last one out," said Reda, who clarified that every sale was an individual automobile to a private customer. "If you want to be successful, you got to do those things. Nobody is going to do it for you."

Reda has been selling cars at the Les Stanford Chevrolet-Cadillac dealership in Dearborn, about 10 miles from Detroit, for 16 years. You might think he has no personal life, working night and day.

"I don't work weekends," he said. He and his wife, Lina, were married soon after he started at the dealership. They have nine-year-old twins, Michael and Madina.

"Ali is the hardest worker I've ever seen," Gary Stanford, Reda's boss, told the Detroit Free Press.

"I just want to help people," Reda said.

His family immigrated to the United States in 1975, fleeing the civil war in Lebanon.

"It was a time of war in the Middle East, and a lot of people started to immigrate here to Detroit to work in factories that were hiring," Reda said.

"At that time, you didn't really need to know how to speak too much English to work at those places, so a lot of people immigrated to Detroit for that reason."

Reda grew up in Detroit with six sisters and one brother. He stayed in the city through elementary and junior high school, before moving and graduating from Dearborn High School.

He worked at Michigan Industrial Belting "as stocker and moved up to warehouse supervisor," before realizing he wanted to work in sales.

"I just wanted something more. I liked sales, I was into that field," Reda said. "So, I looked at car sales and real estate. I kind of followed my heart with auto sales."

When Reda started his job at the dealership, breaking the record was not on his mind, but rather "a sight of the last couple of years." Trying to fit into a new company and advising his clients on the best car for their needs and budget was always paramount.

Reda's hard work and attention to detail paid off.

"Every year, I would get more clients and more referrals as I started growing with my community, and spending most of my time with my community, investing and giving back," he said.

Describing himself as an adviser more than a car salesman, Reda said the best part of his job is the people he meets and the problems he solves.

"Helping people every day is something new, and every day you're helping somebody new," he said. "You're striving to be the best at what you do."

He is motivated to provide a better future for his family, while being a good role model to his children and "teach them the value of work."

"Nothing is easy. If you want something, you got to work at it," he said. "If you don't believe in yourself, and it's what a lot of young people need to realize, it's going to be hard for somebody else to believe in you."

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