December 13, 2013

129 Cars

We spend a month at a Jeep dealership on Long Island as they try to make their monthly sales goal: 129 cars. If they make it, they'll get a huge bonus from the manufacturer, possibly as high as $85,000 — enough to put them in the black for the month. If they don't make it, it'll be the second month in a row. So they pull out all the stops.

Extra: At The Car Lot — photos by Jeff Minton

Note: The internet version of this episode contains un-beeped curse words. BEEPED VERSION.


It’s mid-October, 2013. Freddie Hoyt tries to rally his sales staff to sell 129 cars and trucks by the end of the month. Freddie’s the General Manager at Town and Country Jeep Chrysler Dodge Ram in Levittown, NY, on Long Island. Problem is, the customers are not cooperating. (7 1/2 minutes)

Act One

Web Extra: How we found this car dealer. (This story was not in the radio broadcast of the show.) (2 minutes)

Act Two

A quick primer of who’s who, and how the place works. (6 minutes)

Act Three

Salesman Bob Tantillo has the fewest sales of anyone at Town and Country this month. Robyn Semien spoke to him. (4 minutes)

Act Four

Salesman Jason Mascia has the most sales of anyone this month, as usual. Sean Cole spent a week with him watching how he does it. (8 minutes)

Act Five

The next-to-last day of the month. Deals fall apart, but not all of them. (10 minutes)

Act Six

The last day of the month begins. They have to sell nine cars by the end of the day. "God help us," Freddie says. (2 minutes)

Act Seven

Web Extra: Joe Monti’s real name is Joe Montalbano. But when he started in the car business, he didn't want to lose a sale because a customer couldn’t keep his name straight so he simplified it for the job. He's one of the managers of the used cars department at Town and Country. Sarah Koenig reports on what it'll mean if he doesn’t make this month’s goal. (This story was not in the radio broadcast of the episode.) (7 minutes)

Act Eight

The last day of the month continues and the truism is accurate: some people get great deals because it’s the end of the month and they have to hit their goal. When you look at the numbers, the average car they sell in the last two days actually loses money. (4 minutes)

Act Nine

Salesman Manny Rosales keeps to himself in the showroom, with his own sales philosophy. He explained it to Brian Reed. (7 minutes)