By on September 8, 2016

Alfa Romeo Giulia QV at LAAS2015 with Reid Bigland

Reid Bigland gained plenty of accolades during his rise up the corporate ladder at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, but the company’s U.S. sales head now finds himself in a different type of spotlight — the center of the automaker’s sales tampering scandal.

Sources close to the issue claim that federal investigators have turned their focus to Bigland, whose signature is found on many questionable documents, Bloomberg reports.

Bigland, who also serves as CEO of Maserati and Alfa Romeo (as well as FCA Canada), has a reputation as a problem solver, and his history of promotions shows the confidence placed in him by FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne.

A record U.S. sales streak touted by Bigland came to a squealing halt earlier this summer, thanks to allegations of inflated sales figures. FCA changed the way it reports sales after the federal government launched two investigations, retroactively ending the streak.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission allege that FCA artificially boosted end-of-month sales, which were rolled back at the start of the next month. Investigators believe that a strange code phrase delivered to dealers by telephone gave dealers the go-ahead to boost figures in any way necessary. Some methods, like boosted incentives, are commonplace and legal, but that isn’t the focus here.

Sources tell Bloomberg that investigators are probing whether the automaker ordered dealers to create fake vehicle purchases. Some sales documents were allegedly filled out with the names of friends and relatives of salespeople — some not even old enough to own a car.

According to the report, Bigland’s signature is found on suspect documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. For its part, FCA has stated that is is cooperating with the probe. But until investigators determine the legality of the documents, Bigland remains in the hot seat.

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18 Comments on “Bad Bigland? Sales Tampering Probe Focuses on Fiat Chrysler Sales Guru...”

  • avatar

    Looks like somebody thought Jerry Lundegaard from Fargo was providing How-To advice.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I blame the helmeted Alfa chicks.

  • avatar

    Yes, so our government is going after Reid Bigland for some possible minor sales shennanigans, but Hitlery Clinton jeopardized the security of the entire free world with her obvious pay for play email exploits, yet she goes entirely scott free. (Cough, cough, cough). Reid, just tell them you “don’t remember” or you “don’t recall”. Works for that evil bitch. What is happening to our country? It is a sad day indeed.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Lighten up Francis. This ain’t Politico.

      • 0 avatar

        But it is extremely political. I have been in the auto industry since 1988. All car companies work late the last day of a sales cycle to report inflated numbers of vehicles marked as “shipped” that are sitting in storage or just coming off the line. Dealers blatantly ignore pricing agreements with the manufacturer in order to reach volume incentives (which benefits the consumer). Nobody is innocent, but the DOJ and SEC want to waste American taxpayer money an a non-issue to avoid going after real criminals. FCA dealers point at the manufacturer to divert attention away from their own greedy actions.

  • avatar

    Are the dealers subject to prosecution also for falsifying sales, or did they just fudge the paperwork that was sent to FCA?

  • avatar

    Secret codes, Europeans, red sporty cars, women in jump suits and crash helmets, somebody cue the James Bond music!

  • avatar

    You can rob consumers blind and no one bats an eye (ignoring recent exception regarding Wells Fargo). Mess with the information used to price stocks? That’s a crime against the money. That’s serious.

    • 0 avatar

      Well then, FCA is in the clear. It’s been said in a couple places that Jeep alone is worth about $10 billion. At FCA’s current stock price, the market value is about $8.65 billion. Whatever was “allegedly” done to boost FCA stock prices didn’t work.

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