BMW fined $18 million for reporting incorrect sales figures
BMW allegedly inflated their sales numbers and kept a stash of unreported sales
BMW is in some hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). They will have to pay an $18 million fine to settle allegations that they boosted their sales numbers in the U.S. market for five years.
Last Thursday, the SEC announced that BMW kept a stash of unreported sales from which it drew when they were unable to meet their monthly targets for the five year period from 2015 to 2019. Internally, this stash was known as "The Bank".
The agency said that BMW disclosed this misleading information while they were in the middle of raising $18 billion in corporate bond offerings. In addition to these allegations, BMW of North America also improperly adjusted its sales reporting calendar in 2015 and 2017 in a further effort to meet their sales targets or add to the aforementioned stash of unreported sales for use in future months. Dealers were also paid to designate certain vehicles as either demonstrators or loaners to add to their sale numbers.
While BMW did not admit or deny these allegations, they agreed to pay the fine and not violate the SEC's rules in the future. They did say, however, that these events happened more than three years ago as a result of negligence.
“There is no allegation or finding in the order that any BMW entity engaged in intentional misconduct," they said. “The BMW Group attaches great importance to the correctness of its sales figures and will continue to focus on thorough and consistent sales reporting.”