Volkswagen will not change its name in the US to Voltswagen, according to a new report citing insider sources who believe it was an April Fools prank that leaked days earlier than planned.
Volkswagen had published a press release confirming the temporary name change for certain electric models in the US, however it appears to have since deleted the bulletin.
Representatives for VW around the world – including in Australia – had assured journalists the announcement was accurate, either because they were in on the prank or believed the information on official VW letterhead to be authentic.
However, the Wall Street Journal has since reported that multiple unnamed sources within Volkswagen conceded the media frenzy about the name change was the result of a marketing stunt gone wrong.
“We didn’t mean to mislead anyone,” the US paper was reportedly told by an employee in Wolfsburg. “The whole [thing was] just a marketing action to get people talking about the ID.4.”
Aside from the news breaking early, the stunt appears to have backfired as most media outlets that ran the story also made reference to VW's recent Dieselgate scandal – in which Volkswagen and some of its senior executives were busted for misleading government agencies by fudging emissions tests for 11 million diesel cars sold globally.