Maserati dealer group Recovery Racing is suing Maserati claiming the automaker advised it and other dealers to mark demonstrator vehicles as sold in order to artificially boost sales numbers, Automotive News reports.
Typically a vehicle is considered sold when a retail delivery report, or RDR, is filled out and sent to a distributor. Maserati dealers are advised to punch an RDR card when a new vehicle is added to their demonstrator fleet as it would not be available for a limited amount of time, however the automaker was telling its dealers to send RDR cards for test vehicles they had yet to receive, Recovery Racing alleges.
According to the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Maserati sent out a message to its dealers on September 23rd, 2014 telling them of a Ghibli Performance Bonus that would apply to all Ghiblis sold. Soon after, Rick Fuller, regional sales VP for Maserati, sent out an email to dealers telling them to send off an RDR for a demonstrator Ghibli, even though they hadn’t yet received 2015 demonstrator Ghiblis.
This scheme helped Maserati inflate their sales by 105 vehicles in September 2014, equivalent to one per store. Another email was later sent out by Fuller telling dealers to punch RDR cards for 2014 GranTurismo, GranTurismo Convertible Sport and GranTurismo Convertible MC test vehicles and threatened to take away future incentive money from dealers who refused.
The alleged fraud resulted in a huge spike in sales, with Maserati claiming a retail sales increase of 300 percent in October. According to the lawsuit, “hundreds of these sales were vehicles punched into demonstrator status and not yet sold to a retail customer.”
Maserati declined to provide a comment when asked by AN, saying it does not speak on pending litigations.