Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and other publications are reporting that BMW of North America is allegedly under the scrutiny of the S.E.C. The report says that BMW is facing an investigation in the United States by the Securities and Exchange Commission over a practice known as sales punching in the U.S.
Sale punching occurs when a company boosts sales figures by having dealers register loaner vehicles delivered to dealerships are reported as purchases to improve sales figures. BMW acknowledged the investigation, but wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the probe.
“We have been contacted by the SEC and will cooperate fully with their investigation,” the spokesman told The Wall Street Journal.
BMW sold 322,862 vehicles in the U.S. in the first nine months of the year, an increase of 1.7 percent from a year ago, including the BMW and MINI brands.
Bloomberg says that “there are limits to how many vehicles a dealer can “sell” in this way. So even if malpractice is proven, it’s questionable whether it would have plumped up the carmaker’s sales volumes that much.”
Fiat Chrysler is another automaker was was investigated by the S.E.C. over sales practices. It ended up paying a $40 million fine. Fiat Chrysler, in settling the matter, neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.
We don’t have the full story yet, but we will reach out to BMW of North America for an official statement.