Speed Reads

march fools

Volkswagen says its 'Voltswagen' rebrand was a very early April Fool's joke

Volkswagen made the shocking announcement on Tuesday that its "Voltswagen" rebrand revealed just one day prior was merely a publicity stunt.

The German automaker reportedly posted a notice on its website on Monday indicating it would change the name of its American division to "Voltswagen" as it shifts its focus to making electric vehicles.

A person familiar with the company's plans previously told USA Today that the German automaker's website had not been hacked, and the announcement two days before April Fools' Day was not a joke or marketing ploy, though Volkswagen declined to comment.

On Tuesday, though, The Wall Street Journal reported that Volkswagen will actually be keeping its name. A spokesperson said the rebrand was intended as an early April Fools' Day stunt to get people talking about the company's electric car strategy. "The problem for VW is that everyone took them seriously," writes the Journal.

Perhaps because it is still March, the prank fell flat, "creating confusion about the company's intentions," writes the Journal. Volkswagen reportedly scrambled to spread the word that the name change was fake, but somehow the announcement unveiling "Voltswagen" was again published on the American division's website, making it look like the rebrand really would launch in May.

Even without all the confusion, the prank would have been groan-inducing. The fake press release "quotes" U.S. CEO Scott Keogh as saying "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." On the other hand, it's likely that completely butchering their PR stunt got them more attention than the corny corporate holiday prank would have earned otherwise. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.