Business|BMW Is Under S.E.C. Investigation
BMW Group, the German car manufacturer, faces an investigation in the United States by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said Monday.
The inquiry is focusing on the company’s sales practices, and the commission contacted BMW within the last month, said a person briefed on the matter but not authorized to speak publicly about details of the investigation.
One sales practice drawing scrutiny, this person said, is “car punching,” in which some loaner vehicles delivered to dealerships are reported as purchases to improve sales figures.
A spokesman for the S.E.C. said regulators could neither confirm nor deny an investigation. The inquiry was reported earlier byThe Wall Street Journal.
BMW has its North American headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. The company reported sales ofmore than 25,000 BMW vehiclesin the United States in October, and almost 3,000 more under the Mini brand.
Another automaker, Fiat Chryslerpaid a $40 million to the S.E.C.in September to resolve an investigation into claims that it used a number of dubious practices to pump up its sales numbers, potentially misleading investors. Regulators said the carmaker “inflated new vehicle sales results by paying dealers to report fake vehicle sales and maintaining a database of actual but unreported sales.”
Fiat Chrysler, in settling the matter, neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.
Soon after the S.E.C. inquiry was reported in 2016, Fiat Chryslerrestated several years of sales figures.
At the time, it was widely known in the auto industry that manufacturers wouldsometimes countloaner or demonstration cars as sold.