The U.S. Department of Justice is currently investigating Fiat Chrysler over suspicions that it had some dealers falsely inflate monthly sales figures and according to The Financial Post, the organization has taken a particular interest with its U.S. sales chief Reid Bigland.
The DoJ launched an investigation into FCA after an Illinois dealer group claimed FCA offered a bribe in exchange for it falsely report vehicles as sold. Sources close to the matter now say some of those purchases were made in the names of friends and relatives of salespeople, some of which were underage.
Bigland’s signature is displayed on some of the documents containing disputed sales figures. The documents would also frequently contain statements from Bigland related to FCA’s monthly sales streak, which he said dated back to 2010. FCA is suspected of falsifying the sales figures in order to keep the sales streak going and after announcing its revised monthly sales reporting structure, admitted the streak actually ended in 2013.
FCA only needed to add about 4,500 units over the course of six years to their sales record in order to keep the sales record going, but because the ongoing sales streak made FCA look healthier in the eye of Wall Street investors, the DoJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission have gotten involved. Their interest with Bigland lies with whether or not the 49-year old intentionally tried to prop up FCA’s monthly sales figures and if he knowingly signed off on related sales documents.
As FP points out, high-ranking automotive executives are rarely targeted in investigations related to company scandals. Unfortunately for Bigland, last year the DoJ introduced a new policy that would hold employees responsible for their role in any corporate wrongdoing. The DoJ did not comment on the investigation when asked for comment by FP.