No, we're not kidding.
Yes, we know that April Fools Day is only a couple of days away. However, it really appears as though Volkswagen is on the verge of changing the name of its US operations to "Voltswagen of America". The move is seen as a way for the brand to demonstrate its total commitment to transitioning from diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles to electrification.
I have to admit, I initially believed this was a PR stunt, timed to coincide with April Fools Day, and I'm still not completely convinced it's for real. However, in addition to the original source, CNBC, The Automotive News, and USA Today both reported that it is not a joke, and the brand will indeed change the name of its US operations.
“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 news release that was accidnetly posted a month early.
It appears that Volkswagen accidentally posted a press release a month early on its website today, March 29, 2021, which was dated April 29, 2021. The press released was quickly taken down, but not before CNBC was able to get a hold of it. The release described the name change a “public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility.”
But VW was not hacked, the announcement is not a joke, it's not a marketing ploy and the plan is for the change to be made permanent, said a person familiar with the company’s plans on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. - USA Today
Additionally, the release stated that a “Voltswagen” exterior badge will be placed on the company's electric vehicle models, and non-EVs will continue to wear the company’s recently refreshed VW emblem. Meanwhile, the parent company, the Volkswagen Group in Germany, will retain its current name. Volkswagen means "the people's car" in German, but it doesn't have any specific meaning in English. Therefore, we wouldn't expect the name change to be met with any resistance from US consumers.
CNBC reported that a person familiar with the company’s plans confirmed the authenticity of the release to CNBC. The unnamed person asked to remain anonymous because the plans were not meant to be public yet. CNBC also said that diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles would display the VW logo on a dark blue background, while the electric vehicles would wear the logo on a light blue background.
So evidently, this may really be a thing. If it's not, I admit they got me. Perhaps this is Volkswagen's attempt to finally wash off the stench of its Dieselgate scandal. Does this move do it for you? Do you believe it? Let us know in the comment section below.
*EDIT 3/30/21: Reuters is reporting that it is indeed an April Fools joke and that the company will explain that on 4/1/21.