SEC fines BMW $18 million for inflating U.S. sales figures

Sept. 25 (UPI) — Federal regulators have fined German luxury automaker BMW $18 million for inflating retail sales figures in the United States.

The Securities and Exchange Commission levied the fine against the company and BMW subsidiaries for giving what it called “inaccurate and misleading” information.

BMW also paid dealers to inaccurately include demonstration and loan vehicles in their sales figures, the SEC said.

Regulators say the automaker improperly adjusted its sales reporting calendar in 2015 and 2017 to meet internal goals and bank excess sales for future use.

The regulatory agency said BMW reported the inflated figures while raising nearly $20 billion from investors in several corporate bond offerings.

“Companies accessing U.S. markets to raise capital have an obligation to provide accurate information to investors,” Stephanie Avakian, SEC director for the division of enforcement, said in a statement Thursday.

“BMW misled investors about its U.S. retail sales performance and customer demand … while raising capital in the U.S.”

“This settlement illustrates the significant benefits to companies for providing concrete cooperation,” added SEC enforcement associate director Anita Bandy.

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