This is getting out of hand, Volkswagen. Originally, we suspected the supposed U.S. name change to ‘Voltswagen’ was an April Fool’s Day joke, but on March 30, the German automaker issued a press release noting it was indeed changing its name.
But now, Volkswagen explains to the Wall Street Journal the name change stunt was merely an April Fool’s Day joke, in an effort to get people talking about the company’s electric vehicles such as the ID.4.”
The Volkswagen ID.4 is the German automaker’s attempt to take on the Tesla Model Y. In early reviews of the ID.4, it’s been criticized for having weak software, that fails to come close to Tesla’s touchscreen interior.
Now, it’s in bad taste to play April Fool’s Day pranks two days early, and issue a legitimate press release indicating what was rumoured as a joke, was indeed real.
“We didn’t mean to mislead anyone,” a Volkswagen spokesman in Wolfsburg told The Wall Street Journal, in an interview. “The whole thing is just a marketing action to get people talking about the ID.4.”
“There will be no name change,” the Volkswagen official in Germany said.
When Volkswagen re-issued the ‘Voltswagen’ press release, it sent shares of VW up 4.7% in Germany. In the U.S., shares went up as much as 12%, before they closed up 9%, once it was confirmed it was a publicity stunt.
There may be some SEC implications with Volkswagen’s joke, as it moved the company’s stock price. April Fool’s Day pranks don’t usually cause a company’s stock to rise.
According to former SEC enforcement official, Kyle DeYoung, he told the WSJ, “I do think this is a bit of an unusual situation,” adding, “I would not be surprised if the SEC had some questions about what was going on here and what Volkswagen was thinking.”
While this may be a genius move to get people talking about Volkswagen, it also can be considered a deception to try to play the name change as legitimate, the second time around. The move isn’t surprising considering Volkswagen’s history of cheating and lying about its emissions from 10.5 million cars worldwide.
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