A few years ago, BMW and Nissan were in heated races with their rivals, looking for buyers anywhere they could find. They found them alright — in dealers’ corner offices.The vehicle makers padded their numbers by coaxing retailers into purchasing cars for their own demo and rental fleets. Dealers griped that the industry’s immense competitive pressures were distracting the companies from the goal they should have been focused on: getting actual consumers to buy new vehicles.This episode helps explain why General Motors (GM) is abandoning monthly sales and reporting them only quarterly instead. Analysts expect the pace of industry sales may have slowed in April to an annualised rate of 17-million, in line with a year earlier. GM posits that the industry would be better off getting these readings every three months: the cutthroat nature of the vehicle business contributes to short-term fluctuations that aren’t indicative of legitimate trends.Antics of the sort BMW and Nissan were enga...

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