Lawsuit Suggests Ferrari May Have Known Dealers Were Using Official Tool to Roll Back Odometers
A former dealership employee is suing the company, claiming that the company knowingly allowed the practice.
On this very day last year, Ferrari was accused in of giving corporate approval to its dealerships to use a device to erase mileage from its used cars, padding their values, and boosting profits on their sale, according to the Daily Mail. Today, the same publication published an alleged internal memo from Ferrari North America to dealers, said to prove the practice was not a mere myth propagated by a disgruntled employee, but a corporate-sanctioned activity, greenlit by HQ.
The story came to light when Robert Root, a former salesman of Ferrari of Palm Beach, Florida said a device called a "DEIS Tester" could be used to wipe a Ferrari's odometer clean, and that former CEO of Sara Lee Corporation, C. Steven McMillan, bribed a mechanic to roll back the odometer of his own car. If proved true, this alleged practice could spike the value of his vehicle tremendously. According to Root's lawsuit, the claimed procedure escalated the expected resale price of McMillan's Ferrari LaFerrari from $2 million to $3 million.
The new document, supposedly dated April of last year, claims that Ferrari's discontinuation of odometer roll-backs was "informally implemented" days after the original accusations surfaced. It also claims the software on the "DEIS Tester" device that performed the odometer resets was overwritten by an update published on May 15. Wording also implies that odometer modifications began as early as Sept. 2015, and if true, could leave dozens to hundreds of cars affected.
"Resetting an odometer to zero in case of a malfunction of the odometer when the pre-repair mileage is unknown is consistent with the federal odometer law. What the DEIS tool is allowed to do with respect to the odometer was therefore permitted under U.S. law," said Ferrari of North America Director of Communications Krista Florin in a statement.
"Ferrari determined that the risks of odometer fraud in the United States from unauthorized use of the DEIS tool outweighed the convenience of this functionality of the tool, and thus, Ferrari has informed its network with a technical bulletin that a software update to eliminate the odometer reset functionality of the DEIS tool was necessary and disabled this functionality," she said.
Ferrari has not responded to a request for comment from The Drive.