Photo/IllutrationGerman carmaker BMW's logo (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Fair Trade Commission investigators searched the Tokyo offices of BMW Japan on Sept. 11 over suspicions it set impossible sales targets for dealers and unfairly punished them when they failed to reach the goals, sources said.

The Japanese arm of German automaker BMW AG is suspected of violating the Anti-Monopoly Law by abusing its dominant bargaining position.

According to sources, beginning several years ago, the company imposed excessive sales quotas that could not be met under normal sales conditions.

When dealers failed to achieve the targets, BMW Japan allegedly forced them to buy any unsold vehicles themselves.

The vehicles were then registered in the dealers' names and were likely sold on the market at a discount.

BMW Japan’s sales amounted to 285 billion yen ($2.6 billion) in 2018, according to a private research firm.