Contrary to what you may have read, Volkswagen hasn’t changed its name.
The company’s US operations made a splash when it announced on its website that it would call itself Voltwagen to emphasize its push into electric vehicles when it launched its first electric sport utility vehicle in the US – the ID.4. The change came before April Fool’s Day – a popular time of year for businesses to gain some social media conversation, such as when IHOP tried to convince the world to change its last letter to B like it did with burgers.
“At the end of the day it was a bit of fun with the name and the brand,” said a Volkswagen spokesman, Mark Gillies. “We wanted to reinforce our news about ID.4.”
The name change became known on Monday when a press release announcing the name change was posted on the company’s website for about an hour before it disappeared. CNBC, USA Today and others reported the press release that it was dated April 29 and was accidentally released a month earlier.
On Tuesday, the company released a new March 30 statement about the name change, which sparked a series of comment and speculation on social media. Late on Tuesday afternoon, Volkswagen officials in Germany, where the company is based, admitted it was a marketing tactic.
The company’s Twitter account was changed Tuesday morning to display a logo with the new name. However, the old name was still used on the company’s website.
Changing the name of an established automaker like Volkswagen would clearly be a huge undertaking, and not just for the company. The dealers would have to spend millions of dollars to rename their franchises.
“I don’t know about it,” said Jason Kuhn, owner of two Voltwagen, nee Volkswagen, dealerships near Tampa, Fla., On Tuesday before the company admitted it was just joking. “I read it. I really can’t comment on it. “