A lawsuit filed by a group of Hyundai Motor dealers in the US has alleged that Hyundai Motor America Corp (HMA) pressured dealers to misuse inventory codes intended for “loaner” vehicles to inflate their EV sales figures, Reuters reports.

In documents filed by Napleton Aurora Imports in Illinois, Chicago and affiliated franchises, it is also alleged that HMA punished franchises that would not participate, with those who agreed to improperly code vehicles were “rewarded” with wholesale and retail price discounts and other incentives such as extra inventory of faster selling Hyundai models.  

In a statement earlier this week, Hyundai said it does not condone falsifying sales data and had opened an investigation after it was made aware of the allegations.

An attorney for the Napleton plaintiffs declined to comment when approached by Reuters earlier this week.

The complaint in Chicago accused Hyundai of fraud and violating the Robinson-Patman Act, a federal antitrust law that bars sellers from discriminating on the basis of price, added Reuters.

The complaint said: “Instead of organic growth fueled by desirable vehicles and consumer demand, HMA created a multitiered scheme to cause its dealers to report false sales.”

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The lawsuit also cited statements on a phone call from a Hyundai district sales manager who said, “we gotta hit a number for the press and for the Koreans.”

The case is Napleton Aurora Imports Inc et al v. Hyundai Motor America Corp, US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, No. 1:24-cv-05668.