Dealer Group Sues FCA Alleging Falsified Sales Numbers

January 14, 2016 0 Comments

A dealer group is suing Fiat Chrysler amid allegations that the automaker tried to pay them to falsify sales numbers.

The Napleton auto group has filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against FCA US on behalf of two of its dealerships. According to the Cook County Record, in the suit the dealerships, Napleton’s Arlington Heights Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and Napleton’s Northlake Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, ” … alleged FCA has engaged in fraud, as well as violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and other federal and state laws in Illinois and Florida, through its execution of its so-called volume growth program, or VGP.”

The complaint further alleged, “FCA knowingly endorses and encourages the false reporting of motor vehicle sales by directly rewarding its local managers (hereinafter referred to as “Business Center Directors”) with monetary and quarterly bonuses which are directly related to reported vehicle sales numbers.”

The complaint by the Napleton auto group against FCA also included the allegation that the automaker twice asked the dealer group to falsify sales numbers, once offering $20,000 to do so. The complaint indicates Edward P. Napleton, president of the group, ” … opined that FCA’s actions appeared improper if not outright illegal, notified FCA of the unwillingness Plaintiffs or any of their affiliates to participate in FCA’s scheme and warning FCA that it should refrain from this practice in the future.”

FCA responded to the allegations against them in a press release, which reads in part, “…The Company believes that the claim is without merit and was filed by internal counsel to the dealer group as FCA US has concurrently been discussing with the dealer group the need to meet its obligations under some of its dealer agreements.”

The complaint against FCA also alleged the automaker told the dealer group they would have exclusive market territory for a new $18 million store they built, however, another FCA store popped up in their market less than a year later. The complaint also alleges FCA forced certain dealers to compete against luxury brands with their non-luxury SUVs. Further allegations on the part of this dealer group against FCA can be found in the suit.

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