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BMW Denies Report $8,000 For 7-Series In US Is A Discount

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BMW Denies Report $8,000 For 7-Series In US Is A Discount

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES FRANKFURT -- Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (G.BMW) Monday rejected a Financial Times report that it was giving U.S. dealers a discount of up to $8,000 for its new 7-Series model, saying the money is for a customer service program.

The German carmaker is offering U.S. dealers $8,000 to help finance the cost of loaning cars to potential buyers, said BMW spokesman Michael Rebstock in Munich. The money covers expenses like insurance and fuel, but has nothing to do with sales incentives, he said.

The Financial Times Monday said BMW was heavily discounting some of its new 7-Series vehicles, which some analysts have criticized, saying its design might hurt sales. The newspaper cited BMW rival Mercedes-Benz, the premium brand unit of DaimlerChrysler AG (AG), as making the allegations.

A DaimlerChrysler spokesman in Stuttgart declined to comment.

BMW didn't significantly change the amount it spends on sales incentives, Rebstock said.

A person familiar with the situation said the sales incentive for the 7-Series in the U.S. in May was "much less than half" the $8,000 mentioned in the report. The car starts selling around $68,000 in the U.S.

BMW's Rebstock also reiterated BMW's denial of Mercedes-Benz's claim, according to the Financial Times, that BMW manipulated sales figures to boost market share.

In an initial, unofficial document, BMW had reported a sales figure that was lower than the final June U.S. sales figures it later issued.

Rebstock explained the difference in the unit sales totals - about 2,000 of the difference was derived from adding cars driven by BMW employees and associates to the retail sales figure. BMW does this at the end of each quarter, Rebstock said. The remaining cars added to the sales count later - roughly 400 - were direct imports to the U.S. from Germany, he said.

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