Volks not Volts for German automaker
April Fools prank gone wrong. Or right?
Volkswagen, then Voltswagen, is Volkswagen once again. The automaker’s US branch accidentally leaked a planned April Fools prank early, leading to a series of awkward and incorrect statements, issuing and retracting press releases, and now an apology.
“We know, 66 is an unusual age to change your name, but we’ve always been young at heart. Introducing Voltswagen. Similar to Volkswagen, but with a renewed focus on electric driving,” Volkswagen of America tweeted yesterday. The company said that it was officially changing its name to Voltswagen, at least on electric vehicles, in order to promote the company’s new vision.
“We have said, from the beginning of our shift to an electric future, that we will build EVs for the millions, not just millionaires. This name change signifies a nod to our past as the peoples’ car and our firm belief that our future is in being the peoples’ electric car,” said VW of America CEO Scott Keogh in a press release that was both posted and then removed yesterday.
Later yesterday, representatives at Volkswagen of America admitted that it was a PR stunt. “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.”
We’ll admit that had it been released on April 1, it would have been a pretty good gag, but releasing it early, along with confirmations that it was, in fact, true, lead to a great deal of industry confusion yesterday.
Today, VW posted to Twitter about the confusion, declining to apologise. Instead, it read as more of a brag about the gag. “What began as an April Fool’s effort got the whole world buzzing. Turns out people are as passionate about our heritage as they are about our electric future.”
Volkswagen Canada thankfully did not take part in the unfortunately handled prank, with a spokesperson saying today that “Volkswagen is Volkswagen and always will be!”
What began as an April Fool’s effort got the whole world buzzing. Turns out people are as passionate about our heritage as they are about our electric future. So whether it’s Voltswagen or Volkswagen, people talking about electric driving and our ID.4 can only be a good thing. pic.twitter.com/Rzx8mJgxkT
— Volkswagen (@VW) March 31, 2021