Securities regulators are reportedly investigating whether BMW distorted sales numbers with a manipulative practice known as “sales punching.”
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is examining whether the German automaker used the tactic, in which a company has dealers mark cars as sold when they’re still sitting in lots, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
BMW copped to the SEC’s probe but didn’t provide further detail.
“We can confirm that we’ve been contacted by the SEC and are cooperating fully with the investigation,” a BMW spokesman said.
Reports of the investigation came about three months after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles agreed to pay $40 million to settle SEC charges that it misled investors by inflating sales figures.
The Italian-American automaker’s US arm also boasted about a sales growth “streak” between 2012 and 2016 that was actually broken in September 2013, the SEC has said. Fiat Chrysler is merging with France-based automaker PSA.
Additionally, European officials have accused BMW of colluding with competitors to hamper the rollout of clean emissions technology, allegations the company has pledged to fight, according to news reports.