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The Verge, citing the prosecution, writes that the South Korean automaker pressured American dealers to artificially inflate sales of electric cars “on paper.” Those dealers who refused to falsify data were threatened with sanctions, claims Napleton Aurora Imports of Illinois, which filed the lawsuit in federal court in Chicago.

Napleton Aurora Imports said press releases about the growth of electric vehicle sales issued by Hyundai’s U.S. office inflated figures provided by dealers with whom the automaker was in cahoots. Dealers who reported real sales figures for “green” cars to headquarters were at a competitive disadvantage, such as losing bonuses.

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“Hyundai is trying to convince the public that EV sales are growing organically due to demand, but that’s not true,” the publication quotes a representative of Napleton Aurora Imports as saying. “Hyundai Motor America has created a multi-tiered scheme and is pressuring dealers to reflect false data ‘on paper’.” As evidence, an audio recording is cited in which a regional Hyundai sales manager says that “they need a good picture for the media to satisfy the request of the Korean headquarters.” Hyundai said it is conducting its own investigation.

Earlier, Hyundai released a press release stating that 4,669 electric vehicles were sold in the US in June, nine percent more than in the same month last year. And in the first half of the year, sales of the brand’s electric vehicles increased by 33 percent.

It is worth noting that Napleton Aurora Imports has previously made similar allegations against another car company, Chrysler. The lawsuit was filed in 2019, and the dispute was then settled by agreement of the parties.

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