Stop the phony 'sales'

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Monthly sales reports are essential to monitor the auto industry's health. Automakers, suppliers, dealers, investors, policymakers, economic forecasters, the media and the general public rely on the information to make decisions.

With so many people depending on these numbers, why do some automakers feel it's OK to distort them?

Kia got a nice sales boost by offering dealers a one-day-only $1,800 bonus for every 2013 Kia Soul reported sold the final day of the November sales period. Trouble is, many of these "sales" are still on dealer lots this month, awaiting actual retail buyers.

Kia isn't alone in manipulating the timing of reported retail sales. Several automakers, traditionally domestics and more recently import brands, have dumped vehicles into rental fleets to prop up monthly sales figures without disclosing the move. That's less deceitful, but deliberately misleading.

Automakers should stop playing games and report complete, accurate sales data

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