Automotive News is reporting that Maserati North America has been accused of falsifying vehicle sales in the run up to their public offering.
Stuart Hayim, owner of Recovery Racing which operates several Maserati dealerships in New York, New Jersey and Florida, has filed a lawsuit against Maserati North America. Hayim claims that he was financially disadvantaged by Maserati for refusing to participate in the sham.
Maserati ordered dealers to mark their demonstrator test vehicles as sold in order to pad numbers prior to FCA's IPO.
Court documents indicate that Maserati NA CEO Peter Grady sent an email on September 23, 2014 detailing a new 'Ghibli Performance Bonus' that would apply to new Ghibli sales.
6 days later on the 29th of September another email from Regional Sales VP Rick Fuller ordered dealers to mark Ghibli demo units as sold, despite the fact that dealers hadn't even received their allocations yet. Dealers could earn up to $3,000 per vehicle for complying.
1 day later on the 30th of September, Fuller emailed dealers again, this time ordering them to mark GT, GT Cabrios and GT MC demos as sold. Worse still the email threatened to pull future incentives if dealers didn't comply.
The result was a 300% increase in vehicle sales in October of 2014, the same month FCA went public.
“Dealers were informed that they would receive full higher or additional incentives on each Ghibli when punched as a demonstrator vehicle and then when the vehicle was later sold to a retail customer. The Maserati dealers that complied with the fraudulent scheme obtained and operated at a substantial economic advantage over the Maserati dealers that did not,” the complaint said
Hayim did not participate in the program amid concerns he would be committing securities fraud.