No VW name change in US as company claims bogus post was an April Fool’s Day marketing stunt

No VW name change in US as company claims bogus post was an April Fool's Day marketing stunt

Middle East and Africa

David Shepardson

Christoph Steitz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. unit of German automaker Volkswagen AG issued a fake press release on Tuesday claiming it would rename its U.S. operations to the “Voltswagen of America” as part of a marketing stunt meant to attract the focus on its electric vehicle efforts, the company said on Tuesday. .

FILE PHOTO: A Volkswagen logo is displayed with an American flag at a car dealership in Carlsbad, California, United States September 23, 2020. REUTERS / Mike Blake / File Photo

VW has been criticized on social media for its misleading press release, with some commentators pointing to the company’s diesel emissions scandal and years of deceptive customers and regulators.

“Volkswagen of America will not change its name to Voltswagen. The name change was designed to be an April Fools-style announcement, highlighting the launch of the ID.4 all-electric SUV and signaling our commitment to bringing electric mobility to everyone, ”a spokesperson said. from VW US in a statement.

The press release, posted on its website and accompanied by tweets, was reported by Reuters and other media outlets around the world and included a detailed description of its purported rebranding efforts and new logos. The company pulled it out on Tuesday night.

A spokesperson for Volkswagen in Germany called the rebranding a “good idea” focused on marketing. Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh did not respond to the messages.

At least one analyst wrote a research note praising the name change. VW’s preferred shares closed up 4.7%. Common stocks closed up 10.3%.

The world’s second-largest automaker plans to double deliveries of electric vehicles and increase profits for its main brand this year after accelerating its shift to fully electric vehicles.

Some VW officials have expressed frustration that its major U.S. electric vehicle efforts haven’t garnered as much attention as Tesla or General Motors.

The Volkswagen brand aims to invest 16 billion euros ($ 19 billion) in electrification and digitization by 2025. It has committed to selling one million electric vehicles worldwide by 2025.

In 2015, Volkswagen admitted to using illegal software to rig diesel engine tests in the United States, triggering the biggest corporate crisis in Germany and costing the automaker more than 32 billion euros ($ 38 billion ) in fines, refit and legal costs.

In 2017, VW pleaded guilty to fraud, obstruction of justice and misrepresentation in a $ 4.3 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice over the diesel emissions scandal from the automaker.

© 2020 Reuters. All rights reserved.


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