Supercar Dealer CNC Motors Accused of ‘Stealing’ Cars
According to The Drive
California exotic car dealer CNC Motors had it good in recent years, with a massive uptick in business and attention online in the automotive scene. Notable figures in the car scene like Doug DeMuro shot videos at the high-end store, attracting even more buzz that’s helped it stand out amidst a sea of other supercar sellers. The business is known for carrying a wide variety of rare and unusual rides—basically anything with four wheels and a hefty price tag. And it also handles consignments, selling cars on behalf of their owners. Up until recently, it’s been a successful shop with a good reputation.
But something alarming has been going on at CNC Motors since last fall. Dozens of people have come forward to claim the dealership sold their consigned cars without their knowledge and kept the money. The allegations against CNC’s owner and operator Clayton Thom stretch back to October of 2020. Just last week, both the California Department of Motor Vehicles and local police in Upland, CA announced investigations into the case, and though authorities haven’t revealed any further information from those yet, at least one lawsuit has already been filed against CNC Motors in federal court by an aggrieved buyer.
“I don’t have these problems because I spent somebody’s money taking care of myself, or on myself, or on my family, or on a vice. This is because of business decisions that I’ve made because of a crisis in the world. All my fault,” Thom said in the video. “I’ve made lots of wrong decisions. I’ve made a lot of right ones too, and when I make a wrong one, I always go back and fix it. I hope that I’m given the opportunity, and I hope that once all the wrongs are turned right, I’m hoping that people… are compassionate enough to take two minutes and not just grab their money or the title to their car and run, but to actually listen to me and say, what went wrong?”
That’s not sitting well with CNC’s alleged victims, some of whom say they still haven’t been paid and have no idea what happened to their cars.
“We still don’t know where the car is at,” one alleged victim told us. “We found out that Clay had sold the car sometime in October. He never would’ve told us about the sale of the car if we had not gone to go check on it.”
Many of those involved in disputes with CNC have allegedly filed suit against the dealership. The Drive was able to get ahold of the complaint and an ensuing injunction from one such case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, which spell out the accusations in clear detail.
The case, which was filed on March 23 and is currently ongoing, alleges that the plaintiff, a Tampa-based car dealer named as The Alegra Collection, bought a Brabus-modified Mercedes G Wagen 4×4 Squared from CNC in early December 2020 and wired $220,000 to the California business to pay for it. The dealership then sent a car carrier from Florida to collect the vehicle, but when it arrived, it claims CNC didn’t have the title on hand. According to the complaint, Thom insisted that the title would be provided, even promising it would be driven from California to Florida by a CNC employee to complete the deal if necessary.
Alegra decided not to take the truck back to Florida sans title, and the situation unraveled from there. Thom allegedly gave the Florida dealer the runaround and attempted to delay the situation for weeks. In mid-March, just before the suit was filed, Alegra says it discovered that the vehicle still had the previous owner’s unpaid loan attached to it.
“Throughout January through March 2021, Alegra would frequently follow up with Defendants to advise on the status and Defendants would not promptly respond or provide various excuses,” the complaint reads. “Defendants despite repeated demands refuse to provide title to the Vehicle; leaving Alegra having a Vehicle that is essentially a large and expensive storage container.”
There’s also a pretty tidy summary of what many are claiming: That CNC has allegedly been engaged in a massive, widespread “scheme” that’s snared dozens of unsuspecting owners.
“Alegra has since discovered that Defendants are participating in a scheme whereby Defendants Thom, Firmapaz, and other employees of CNC obtain luxury vehicles to consign for various consignors,” the complaint reads. “Defendants then find purchasers to purchase the vehicles (such as Alegra). The purchasers then purchase the vehicles from Defendants. However, the Defendants do not pay the consignor their money after the sale. Thereby leaving the bona-fide purchasers without the title to their vehicles, rending their newly purchased vehicles useless.”