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BMW to Pay US Fine of $ 18 Million for Inflated Sales Probe

BMW AG and two US subsidiaries on Thursday agreed to pay $18 million (£14.1 million) as a fine to resolve acquisitions that had disclosed misleading information about the retail sales volume of German luxury automakers in the US and raising approximately $18 billion from investors through corporate bond offerings. The US Securities and Exchange Commission said BMW has inflated reported US retail sales from 2015 to 2019 which in turn helped the automaker to close the gap between the actual retail sales volume and internal targets and to publicly maintain a leading retail sales position as compared to the other premium automotive companies.

BMW in a statement said, “There is no allegation or finding in the Order that any BMW entity engaged in intentional misconduct,” and added to it “attaches great importance to the correctness of its sales figures and will continue to focus on thorough and consistent sales reporting.” The SEC said that BMW has paid its dealers to inaccurately designate vehicles as demonstrators or loaners so that the automaker would count them as being sold to the customers, but in reality, BMW had not sold.

“BMW misled investors about its US retail sales performance and customer demand for BMW vehicles in the US market while raising capital in the US,” said the SEC director of the division of enforcement, Stephanie Avakian. In September 2019, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and its US unit agreed to pay $40 million for misleading monthly sales figures to investors and to resolve a separate SEC probe.

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