Performance Perspectives Blog

The use and misues of statistics, part II

by | Aug 15, 2012

It was just yesterday that I commented on a WSJ article that spoke of the potential misuse of statistics. And today, in this very paper, on the top of page B1 we read the headline “BMW’s ‘Demo’ Sales Boost Results.”

The article speaks of how BMW reported a sale of “21,297 of its flagship-brand cars in the U.S. in July,” and these “numbers are not as straightforward as they appear,” because “Hundreds of BMWs counted as sold in July remain in showroom inventories and are still advertised for sale as new cars.”

It seems that BMW offered their dealers an incentive to acquire cars on July 31 and receive a $7,000 discount, provided they be reported as “sold.”

Where does it end?

But our industry sees this sort of thing too, does it not? The incentive to present information in just the right light. This is why standards, such as GIPS(R) (Global Investment Performance Standards) and UAPS (Universal Advisor Performance Standards) are critically important. While flexibility is offered, their remain fundamental rules which must be adhered to.

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