Kia is Suing a Former Dealer for Shady Business Practices and Misrepresenting Sales

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

Dan O’Brien auto group used to operate three Kia stores in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, but the automaker isn’t happy with how things ended. In early May, it filed a lawsuit against the dealer, claiming racketeering, fraud, and stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in incentives.

Kia named Dan O’Brien, his COO Tom Kuhn, and six stores in the suit, which places an estimated loss of more than $500,000. Two of the stores sold in 2022 and 2023, but the third sale fell through when the prospective buyer caught wind of O’Brien’s allegedly shady business practices. Kia said that O’Brien’s schemes hurt other dealers because they took inventory away from them when supply was far short of demand. The automaker is aware of around 300 deliveries that might have come as a part of the dealer’s efforts, and audits revealed that there were more than 20 vehicles still on its lot that were reported sold.

O’Brien was also accused of falsifying records to identify wholesale cars as retail sales, and he and Kuhn allegedly sold more than 100 vehicles in a massive wholesale agreement to cover up some of their misdeeds prior to the audit.

It’s unclear how far this suit will go, but Kia has tried and failed to pursue similar legal action in the past. A Massachusetts federal judge blocked the automaker from chasing RICO claims against another dealer after its contract terminated.

[Images: JHVEPhoto, Around the World Photos, and Hrach Hovhannisyan via Shutterstock]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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2 of 46 comments
  • Paul Paul on Jun 05, 2024

    I'm shocked, shocked to find there is dishonesty going on in here!

  • Bd2 Bd2 on Jun 06, 2024

    Of course, Anal has been all over/trolling over this article - lol

    This dealer also had a Ram/Jeep/Chrysler/Dodge and Subaru dealerships which also engaged in shady shenanigans.