LOS ANGELES - A former Mitsubishi district manager in the automaker's Southeast Region headquarters has told Florida investigators the order to falsify sales records came directly from the company's senior management.
Summarizing an interview with former district sales manager Mark Parent, Florida investigator Larry Schuchman writes in a document obtained by Automotive News:
'The orders to burn RDRs came from above, from (senior vice president) Greg O'Neill and possibly (executive vice president) Pierre Gagnon. They would direct the district sales managers to do whatever was necessary to meet the quotas, including burning RDRs.'
Gagnon and O'Neill were unavailable for comment last week, but Mitsubishi general counsel Ellen Gleberman fiercely denied the charges.
'There is no evidence that Pierre or Greg coordinated this, or would get any benefit from it,' Gleberman said.
'There is evidence of people being put under tremendous pressure ... and they responded by filing false sales reports.'
Mitsubishi fired Parent last year after his arrest on a drunken-driving charge, Gleberman said, which makes him a disgruntled and unreliable source.
Parent also told Schuchman: 'Most of the dealerships were aware of what was taking place and that certain MMSA incentives would or could be withheld if they failed to cooperate.'
When contacted last week, Parent declined to be interviewed.
Three other sources cited in the Florida documents, but not identified, also alleged direct headquarters involvement in deceptive sales reporting.
'The demands for fraudulent RDRs started at the time that Greg O'Neill came on board at Mitsubishi,' one dealer, who was not identified, is quoted as telling an investigator.
Despite the claims, said Brad Barbin, special counsel for the Florida Attorney General, a criminal investigation probably will not be launched because of the difficulty in proving the claims.