SEC Investigating Whether BMW Faked Sales

William Boston in Berlin and Mike Colias in Detroit bring news of fraud in a story for the Wall Street Journal:

The Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into whether German luxury car maker Bayerische Motoren Werke AG manipulated sales figures, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Wall Street Journal


The regulator is looking into whether the Munich-based auto maker engaged in a practice known as sales punching in the U.S., the people said. Sale punching occurs when a company boosts sales figures by having dealers register cars as sold when the vehicles actually are still standing on car lots.

The Wall Street Journal

Oh, they were supposed to sell the cars before booking the sales? I can see how they got confused about that –– it must have just been an innocent mistake.

Or maybe… they were trying to hide how badly their business was taking a hit from certain non-gas powered competitors.

The probe comes as the U.S. officials continue to pursue other car companies suspected of falsifying data and misleading investors. 

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV in September agreed to pay $40 million to settle claims by the SEC that the company had for years paid dealers to report exaggerated sales numbers. The company said at the time it had reviewed and refined its sales reporting procedures and was committed to maintaining strong controls. 

The Wall Street Journal

This isn’t a BMW problem: It’s an industry-wide problem. Why is everyone lying about their sales figures? Because sales are just fantastic. The future of the gasoline engine looks bright!

Fiat Chrysler also revised monthly sales results going back several years, nullifying a 75-month streak of sales increases. Under those revised methods, the streak ended in September 2013, three years earlier than it previously stated.

The Wall Street Journal

Fiat Chrysler: And we’ve had 75 months of consecutive sales increases, our sales just keep increasing every month!

Investor: Wow, really!?!

Fiat Chrysler: No, the sales streak actually ended 3 years ago. We just made it up but the SEC found out and made us tell you.

Investor: Oh

Fiat Chrysler: So you gonna invest or what?

This year, Fiat Chrysler joined General Motors Co. GM -1.29% and Ford Motor Co.F -0.42% in ending the practice of reporting monthly U.S. sales numbers. The companies now report their U.S. sales quarterly, while most other major car makers still disclose results each month.

The Wall Street Journal

Sales are so amazing that we really don’t want to tell you about them anymore!

The SEC investigation also follows 2015 indictments against Volkswagen AGVOW -0.60% of Germany on charges of defrauding U.S. consumers and the U.S. government and violating the federal Clean Air Act by rigging diesel-powered vehicles to cheat emissions test. That case was brought by the Justice Department.

Volkswagen pleaded guilty to the charges in 2016 and has faced more than $30 billion in fines, penalties and compensation fees.

The Wall Street Journal

Oh yeah, that time Volkwagen poisoned us all and lied about it! I remember that. The ironic thing is for $30 billion they could have bought a controlling stake in Tesla earlier this year.

In addition, BMW faces litigation by European authorities on allegations of colluding with rivals to manipulate prices on technology to control emissions.

BMW, which has vowed to fight the case, in April took a $1.1 billion charge against earningsas a provision for potential fines from the it.

The Wall Street Journal

Fraud is like cockroaches: for every one you see, there’s a thousand more you don’t.

BMW sold 322,862 vehicles in the U.S. in the first nine months of the year, an increase of 1.7% from a year ago, including its namesake BMW brands and its Mini brand.

The Wall Street Journal

A 1.7% increase? Is that before or after removing the fake sales?

BMW also has been under pressure in the U.S. because of the Trump administration’s trade war with China, which has hit BMW’s SUV exports from its Spartanburg, S.C., factory. BMW has responded by shifting some production from the U.S. to China.

The Wall Street Journal

Our government at work!

Oops, I frauded again: SEC Investigating whether BMW Faked Sales

Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal

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9 thoughts on “SEC Investigating Whether BMW Faked Sales

      1. I’m aware of that of course 🙂 Still feels weird to criticise others for deciding not to do something that Tesla isn’t doing either…

          1. Oh, I agree on that… But that’s not what this thread was about 😉 Too little context in the notification?…

  1. Actually you don’t know how many shares VW could have purchased with $30 billion. You can’t just look at the market price, since as you are trying to buy a controlling interest to drive the price up and it depends on how hard it is to pry the shares from the existing owners.

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