By on July 27, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Exterior Front 3/4. Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

As recently as March 1, 2016 — on behalf of February 2016’s sales results — Fiat Chrysler US LLC touted a 71-month streak of year-over-year U.S. new vehicle sales improvements. Although FCA US stopped communicating the length of that streak by the beginning of the second-quarter, the company’s sales reports suggested that the streak through the end of June 2016 measured 75 months.

Figures released by FCA yesterday reveal that the streak of year-over-year improvements actually ended at 40 months in September 2013, when an originally reported 1-percent increase, it turns out, was actually a 3-percent decrease. On two other occasions during this 75-month span, FCA claimed sales had improved, year-over-year. August 2015’s 2-percent increase was actually a 1-percent decrease. Then, only two months ago, while FCA originally claimed a 1-percent increase, sales actually fell 7 percent.

The abbreviated streak, however, is only one side of the equation. (And it increasingly appears to be the least of FCA’s worries, as a grand jury has now been empaneled.) FCA’s sales reporting methods, highly questionable on both the retail and fleet side, frequently resulted in significant overstatements and, FCA claims, understatements, as well. (Read More…)

By on July 25, 2016

east-brunswick-nj-jeep-dodge-chrysler-dealership-1024x768

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles stopped inflating monthly sales figures after uncovering the practice last year, according to sources within the automaker.

The two insiders told Automotive News that the practice, which involved artificially boosting sales numbers before rolling them back the following month, was discovered by an internal review in mid-2015. FCA sales chief Reid Bigland reportedly put a stop to the practice.

FCA is now under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. (Read More…)

By on July 19, 2016

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland

“Your word is your bond,” Melania Trump famously said. Or was it Michelle Obama?

We are pretty sure the current and potentially future First Ladies were not speaking about the words found in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ monthly U.S. sales reports. Yet questions have arisen — once again — regarding FCA’s sales practices and reporting methodologies. This time, rather than lawsuits from a Maserati dealer that operates stores in New York, New Jersey, and Florida, or an Illinois dealer of core FCA brands, the questions are being asked by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In March, Napleton Automotive’s lawsuit (filed by the same lawyer hired by Recovery Racing to sue FCA-owned Maserati last year) accused FCA of “‘strong arm’ tactics to get dealers to falsify sales reports that benefit the auto maker by creating ‘the appearance that [Fiat Chrysler’s] performance is better than, in reality, it actually is,’” according to The Wall Street Journal.

On July 11, reports Automotive News, “Investigators from the FBI and the SEC visited FCA field staff in their homes and offices on July 11 as part of the probe.” In FCA’s own statement, the automaker said yesterday that, “In its annual and quarterly financial statements, FCA records revenues based on shipments to dealers and customers and not on reported vehicle unit sales to end customers,” and confirmed cooperation with both the SEC and the Justice Department.

But what are the actual claims? As automakers report model-specific U.S. auto sales figures at the beginning of every month, FCA typically delves into great detail regarding the prior month’s performance and the year-to-date results. (Read More…)

By on December 16, 2014
Teslas in a row Courtesy ibtimes.com

Tesla’s first fleet deal? Around 100 Model S’s were sold to a Las Vegas startup taxi service.

The auto journo world is in a tizzy because electric automaker Tesla refuses to post its car sales numbers on a monthly basis and the numbers they do divulge are suspicious as they are without detail and they vary widely from actual registration numbers. Our friends at Jalopnik ranted about it last week, calling on Tesla to start reporting sales consistently. They based their story on a report by Seeking Alpha that deduced that Tesla may have as many as 12,000 unsold Model S’s, based on registration figures and the automaker’s quarterly financial reports.

We say congratulations, Elon Musk, you truly are the head of an American car company now, as reporting bogus sales numbers to the press is a normal part of an automaker’s modus operandi.  (Read More…)

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