You won't hear much about it in North America, but DaimlerChrysler's sales organization in Germany is in the middle of a scandal.
Among the allegations are charges that some DaimlerChrysler employees were involved in exporting grey-market cars.
Mercedes-Benz automobiles intended for sale in Germany were diverted to overseas markets where they were sold outside the normal distribution chain.
The company already has suspended two high-ranking sales officials and the prosecutor's office in Stuttgart has launched a full-scale investigation.
And, according to Automobilwoche, the scandal is likely to grow.
Gray market cars may seem harmless, but they cheat the factory's legitimate distributors and dealers out of profits. Unwary consumers in faraway lands might find out later that their cars aren't covered by a factory warranty, which could be costly as well as aggravating.
Worst of all, the whole thing also can damage a brand's reputation and interfere with legitimate marketing. That's why automakers try to stamp out grey markets --- even if the factory could use a little plus business because sales are down.
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