'Voltswagen' confirms fake release was an April Fool's stunt
The hoax was designed to call attention to its electric vehicle efforts, the company said
German automaker Volkswagen's US unit issued a false news release on Tuesday claiming it would rename its US operations as "Voltswagen of America" in a marketing stunt designed to call attention to its electric vehicle efforts, the company said on Tuesday.
VW came under criticism on social media for its misleading news release, some commenters recalling the company's diesel emissions scandal and years of misleading customers and regulators.
"Volkswagen of America will not be changing its name to Voltswagen. The renaming was designed to be an announcement in the spirit of April Fool’s Day, highlighting the launch of the all-electric ID.4 SUV and signaling our commitment to bringing electric mobility to all," a VW US spokesman said in a statement.
The news release, posted on its website and accompanied by tweets, was reported by Reuters and other outlets globally and included a detailed description of its purported rebranding efforts and new logos. The company pulled it late on Tuesday.
A Volkswagen spokesman in Germany called the rebranding a "nice idea" with a focus on marketing. Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh did not respond to messages.
The world's second-largest carmaker expects to double electric vehicle deliveries and boost profits for its core brand this year after stepping up its switch to fully electric vehicles.
Some VW officials have expressed frustration that its significant US EV efforts have not drawn as much attention as Tesla or General Motors.
The Volkswagen brand aims to invest 16 billion euros ($19 billion) in electrification and digitalization by 2025. It has committed to sell one million EVs worldwide by 2025.