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Act 4: 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.

Act 5: Act Five

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

Act 6: 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.

Act 7: 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.

Act 8: 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.

Act 9: Act Nine

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


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.


Host Ira Glass introduces the story of the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., aka NUMMI. In 1984, General Motors and Toyota opened NUMMI as a joint venture.

Act 1: Act One

The rise of NUMMI, or how one of the worst auto plants in America started producing some of its best cars, thanks to lessons learned from the Toyota production system.

Act 2: Act Two

Why did it take so many years for GM to begin implementing the lessons of NUMMI across the company? NPR Automotive Correspondent Frank Langfitt continues his story.


Host Ira Glass remembers one of his favorite jobs, as a temp typist working at night in New York City. And we hear from a group of teenagers who create unique fun during the middle of the night when none of their classmates are awake.


We hear the eerily calm answering machine message that Brita Bonechi leaves for her husband, Rob, after she's had an accident and is trapped upside down in her car.

Act 1: Crunk In The Trunk

David Segal of the Washington Post investigates the competitive world of db drag racing ("db" stands for "decibels"), where people customize their cars with stereos so loud that they can't actually be played—or listened to—at least not without risking a nose bleed.

Act 2: Baby You Can't Drive My Car

Jamie Kitman tells the story of the car that broke his heart. He's the New York Bureau Chief for Automobile Magazine and the automotive editor for Men's Journal.

Act 4: Not Your Father's Chevrolet Salesman

This American Life producer Sarah Koenig checks out competing sales techniques at a Chevy dealership on the south side of Chicago. It turns out the number two salesman thinks he's number one, and the number one a grandmother, Yvonne Hawk.

Act 5: End Of The Road

People don't want to stop driving, no matter how old they get. This American Life producer Lisa Pollak talked with Rosyna Salerno, a 91-year-old widow, who recently gave up her license after she had a stroke. And Dan Neil, automotive critic for the Los Angeles Times, tells the story of Stirling Moss, the race car driver who, at 75, still holds the world record for completing a 1,000-mile race called the Mille Miglia.

Act 3: Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Be Alarmingly Familiar

When Darren's car was stolen in Washington, D.C., he did what everyone does: He called the police and figured he'd never see the car again. But within a week, as he was driving his rental he spotted his stolen Toyota, and chased it, with some help from the nice lady at 9-1-1.