BMW to pay USD18 million for inflating sales figures

BMW AG and two U.S. subsidiaries agreed to pay an USD18 million (£14.1 million) U.S. fine to resolve accusations that they disclosed misleading information about its retail sales volume in the United States.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said that the German luxury automaker kept a reserve of unreported sales that it drew on to meet monthly targets from 2015 to 2019.

The automaker disclosed the misleading information while raising about USD18 billion in several corporate bond offerings, the agency said.

The SEC said 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.”

“BMW misled investors about its U.S. retail sales performance and customer demand for BMW vehicles in the U.S. market while raising capital in the U.S.,” said Stephanie Avakian, the SEC director of the division of enforcement.

The SEC probe started in late 2019, BMW said.

“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.”

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