BMW agrees to pay $18 million fine to offset inflated sales accusation

BMW AG and two U.S. subsidiaries have accepted to pay a fine of $18 million to settle the accusation of disclosing misleading information about the German luxury automaker’s retail sales volume in the United States while raising approximately $18 billion from investors in corporate bond offerings.

BMW had inflated reported U.S. retail sales, which helped BMW close the gap between actual retail sales volume and internal targets and “publicly maintain a leading retail sales position relative to other premium automotive companies”, said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It continued by saying that BMW of North America, “maintained a reserve of unreported retail vehicle sales – referred to internally as the ‘bank’ – that is used to meet internal monthly sales targets without regard to when the underlying sales occurred.”

The SEC said that BMW, “paid dealers to inaccurately designate vehicles as demonstrators or loaners so that BMW would count them as having been sold to customers when they had not been.” To this, “There is no allegation or finding in the order that any BMW entity engaged in intentional misconduct,” BMW said in a statement, adding it “attaches great importance to the correctness of its sales figures and will continue to focus on thorough and consistent sales reporting.”

To resolve a separate SEC probe, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and its U.S. unit have agreed to pay $40 million for misleading investors about its monthly sales figures.

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