The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently investigating Volkswagen for stock fraud following last month’s controversial name-change ‘prank,’ according to a new report from Reuters.
On 29 March 2021, the German automotive conglomerate announced via an official press release it was changing its name to Voltswagen in the US, as part of a wider bid highlighting the shift towards electrification.
Representatives confirmed the bizarre move and explicitly told media outlets (including Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, The Independent and USA Today) the announcement was not a marketing stunt, going to far as to provide fake quotes from US CEO Scott Keogh.
A spokesperson for the brand in Australia repeatedly assured CarAdvice – and other local publishers – the name-change was going ahead across the pond, but noted: “[The decision to rebrand] is purely a US gambit."
In the wake of the ‘news' Volkswagen’s stock price spiked more than 10 per cent, from €218.85 (AU$340) to €246.55 (AU$390). However, since the hoax was rumbled, shares have fallen back to €216.70 (AU$335).
CarAdvice reached out to the US Security Exchange Commission for comment when the story broke last month. A spokesperson at the time said: “[We] do not have statements or comments at this time.”
The same spokesperson has been re-approached for further information. This story will be updated when more information becomes available.