VW ‘admits “Voltswagen” name change in US is April Fools’ prank’
Volkswagen has reportedly admitted that its much-hyped plan to change its brand name in the United States to ‘Voltswagen’ was nothing but an early April Fools’ stunt.
Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that officials at the automaker’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, revealed that a press release announcing the re-branding effort was just a joke meant to increase hype about VW’s first all-electric SUV, the ID.4.
‘It’s a premature April Fool’s joke. It’s part of a marketing campaign for the ID.4,’ the newspaper quoted one unnamed source as saying. ‘There will be no name change.’
Volkswagen was expected to issue a statement on Wednesday to put the re-branding stunt to rest.
Watt a joke! Volkswagen said it plans to change its brand name in the United States to ‘Voltswagen,’ but company officials later said it is an April Fools’ prank
VW is taking reservations for the new ID.4 small electric SUV in the U.S.
FULL PRESS RELEASE UNVEILING VOLTSWAGEN NAME CHANGE:
‘Today, Volkswagen Group of America, is unveiling the official change of its U.S. brand name from Volkswagen of America to Voltswagen of America.
‘More than a name change, “Voltswagen” is a public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility. By definition, Volts are the derived units for electric potential between two points. The new name and branding symbolize the highly-charged forward momentum Voltswagen has put in motion, pursuing a goal of moving all people point-to-point with EVs.
‘“We might be changing out our K for a T, but what we aren’t changing is this brand’s commitment to making best-in-class vehicles for drivers and people everywhere,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Voltswagen of America. “The idea of a ‘people’s car’ is the very fabric of our being. 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.”
‘This month, the company welcomes the arrival of ID.4, its first long-range all-electric, zero direct emission SUV, in dealerships across America. As well as being designed to compete with mainstream compact SUVs, the ID.4 is the first product to be sold nationwide that confirms the company’s commitment to sustainable mobility.
‘That’s been the mission since the larger Volkswagen Group became the first major automaker to support the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, with an added target of a 30 percent reduction in the company’s carbon footprint by 2025, and net-carbon neutrality by 2050. A resulting commitment to sell one million EVs worldwide by 2025 will see more than 70 electric models launched across the VW group brands by 2029.
‘With the introduction of the “Drive Bigger” brand platform in 2019, Volkswagen of America, as it was then, communicated a long-term vision of striving for a higher purpose, challenging us all to move beyond self-interest and to consider being part of something bigger. The company further signaled its intentions by becoming one of five brands that signed up in 2019 to California’s proposed fuel economy regulations, which aim to impose stricter CO2 standards in an effort to help combat climate change.
‘Voltswagen means thinking big, acting boldly and leading progress.In 1955 Volkswagen of America was founded, and from the beginning the company dared to be different from other automakers. VW first won the love of the American public with the Type 1 Beetle, which eventually overtook the Ford Model T as the world’s best-selling car, with more than 23 million sold. By establishing a storied legacy of breaking from convention and emphasizing a true driver-vehicle connection, Volkswagen of America in its time has become synonymous with humility, wit and humor, while the actual namesake translates to “the people’s car.”
‘”As our newly launched ID.4 campaign demonstrates, the humanity at the core of this brand remains its enduring legacy,” said Kimberley Gardiner, senior vice president, Voltswagen of America brand marketing. “The tone of Voltswagen will be a consistent thread between the branded communications for our growing electric fleet to our gas vehicles. Over the course of the next few months, you will see the brand transition at all consumer touch points. This is an exciting moment for us, and we have been working through every avenue to make the transition clear, consistent, seamless and fun for all.”
‘The company will preserve elements of Volkswagen’s heritage by retaining its iconic VW Dark Blue color for gas-powered vehicles and Light Blue to differentiate the new, EV-centric branding. Starting today, new branding will roll out across all of the company’s advertising, website and social media channels. Moving forward, “Voltswagen” will be placed as an exterior badge on all EV models with gas vehicles sporting the VW emblem only. Exterior and interior signage will soon roll out to all Voltswagen properties and dealerships across the US.’
The company released a statement earlier in the day, formally announcing the name change amid speculations that it was all part of an elaborate prank.
DailyMail.com reached out to the automaker for a comment and was awaiting a response.
The company had briefly posted the press release on its website early Monday announcing the brand name change. The press release was noticed by a reporter from USA Today before it was removed. The release was dated April 29.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
The automaker Volkswagen was founded in Germany in 1937 on the orders of Adolf Hitler, who wanted ordinary German people to have access to cars.
Its current name comes from the German name Volkswagenwerk, which is translated into English as ‘the People’s car.’
The premature release comes as VW is taking reservations for the new ID.4 small electric SUV in the U.S. It’s the company’s only new electric model sold in the United States, though there are plans for more, including a nostalgic reprise of the company’s Microbus.
Even with the ID.4 fully on sale, only a small fraction of VWs on U.S. roads will bear the ‘Voltswagen’ name. The vast majority of VW’s vehicle sales in the US will still be powered by gasoline for the foreseeable future and will continue to be labeled simply as VW. The German automaker sold just under 326,000 VW-branded vehicles in the U.S. last year.
An exterior badge with the name ‘Voltswagen’ will be affixed to the company’s electric vehicles, while gas-powered vehicles will still have the normal ‘VW,’ but no brand name on them, a person briefed on the plan said.
The news release said the move amounted to a public declaration of the company’s future investment in electric mobility.
‘We might be changing out our K for a T, but what we aren’t changing is this brand’s commitment to making best-in-class vehicles for drivers and people everywhere,” VW of America CEO Scott Keogh said in the release.
A Volkswagen US spokesman said Tuesday the announcement was originally intended for April 29 and that the name change reflects its transforming fleet.
‘This name change signals that VW is transitioning away from the internal combustion engine and to e-mobility,’ spokesman William Gock said.
‘We foresee our cars being all electric in the US by the end of the next decade, and we hope the attention we’re generating here will help communicate these goals and commitments to all.’
Outside the United States, Volkswagen, like some other automakers, has sharply expanded its EV footprint. In Europe, the company tripled its battery-powered vehicle sales from 45,000 in 2019 to 134,000 in 2020. VW began selling its new electric compact ID.3 ahead of strict new European Union limits on auto emissions.
The company is planning to begin selling an electric version of its Microbus in the US
In the US, fully electric vehicles last year accounted for less than 2 per cent of new vehicle sales. Tesla led the way, with an estimated 205,600 in U.S. sales, according to Autodata Corp. General Motors sold just under 21,000 Chevrolet Bolts, while Nissan sold a little more than 9,500 Leaf electric cars.
VW has been trying to repair its image after US authorities in 2015 discovered that its so-called ‘clean diesel’ vehicles cheated on emissions tests. The diesels switched pollution controls on during Environmental Protection Agency treadmill tests, then turned them off while on real roads.
Volkswagen in 2017 pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $4.3billion in US civil and criminal penalties on top of billions more to buy back cars. Two people were sent to prison.
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