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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sued for allegedly fudging sales numbers

Two FCA dealerships have filed a federal suit claiming, among other things, conspiratorial behavior. Naturally, the automaker disagrees.

FCA World Headquarters
If this turns out to be true, FCA could be in a world of trouble. It would throw years' worth of sales figures into question.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Volkswagen isn't the only automaker being sued this month. Today, two Chicago-area Fiat Chrysler dealers filed a civil racketeering suit alleging that the London-based manufacturing conglomerate illegally altered its sales numbers.

The case hinges on the dealerships' insistence that FCA was offering money to dealerships that reported unsold vehicles as sold, so that FCA could continue its long streak of month-over-month sales records.

According to Automotive News, the dealerships would play along by reporting false sales at the end of the month. As a new month began, those dealers would cancel the sales in question, just in time to prevent the factory warranty from kicking in.

FCA allegedly rewarded those who cooperated. The lawsuit states that the owner of the dealerships behind the lawsuit, Ed Napleton, was offered $20,000 to count 40 unsold vehicles as sold.

FCA put out a statement earlier today regarding the legal action. "While the lawsuit has not yet been served on FCA US, the company believes that the claim is without merit," the statement reads. "The company is confident in the integrity of its business processes and dealer arrangements and intends to defend this action vigorously."

Fiat Chrysler currently possesses the longest US sales streak of any automaker: 69 months, dating back to when the company emerged from bankruptcy. The suit contains a litany of claims, above and beyond what's mentioned in this story, including allegations of intimidation and coercion.