Introducing Voltswagen: VW’s April Fools’ Day Prank

Volkswagen automobile emblem
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

In what was apparently a marketing ploy meant as an April Fools’ Day joke, Volkswagen will not be changing the name of its U.S. operations to “Voltswagen of America,” CNBC reports.

A source familiar with the plans said a follow-up announcement is expected from the company by Wednesday morning, according to CNBC. 

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In the original announcement, Volkswagen said it was rebranding its U.S. arm and changing its name to Voltswagen of America in a move to push its electric vehicles.

“We know, 66 is an unusual age to change your name, but we’ve always been young at heart. Introducing Voltswagen. Similar to Volkswagen, but with a renewed focus on electric driving. Starting with our all-new, all-electric SUV the ID.4 – available today. #Voltswagen #ID4,” the tweet read.

The starting price for the ID 4 SUV is $39,995, according to the company’s website.

“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,”  Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said in a statement. “The idea of a ‘people’s car’ is the very fabric of our being. We have said, from the beginning of our shift to an electric future, that we will build EVs for the millions, not just millionaires. This name change signifies a nod to our past as the peoples’ car and our firm belief that our future is in being the peoples’ electric car.”

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Volkswagen Group became the first major automaker to support the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, with an added target of a 30% reduction in the company’s carbon footprint by 2025 and net-carbon neutrality by 2050, according to the statement. It added that it commits to selling one million EVs worldwide by 2025 and to offering more than 70 electric models launched across the VW group brands by 2029.

The company is also going after its competitor Tesla on its website, featuring a quote from a Mashable article, stating “The Tesla experience in a Model Y is a bit cold with the giant screen and nothing else. The ID.4…felt more welcoming…and the interior features really make it stand out.”

Earlier this month, Volkswagen presented a roadmap to ramp up its electric-vehicle battery production.

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“The goal of the roadmap is to significantly reduce the complexity and cost of the battery in order to make the electric car attractive and viable for as many people as possible,” Volkswagen said in a statement.

The company announced that it would establish six gigafactories in Europe, with a total production capacity of 240 GWh, by the end of the decade. Volkswagen also said it would expand its global fast-charging network via partnerships with BP, Iberdrola and Enel.

“Along with its partners, the company intends to operate about 18,000 public fast-charging points in Europe by 2025. This represents a five-fold expansion of the fast-charging network compared to today and corresponds to about one third of the total demand predicted on the continent for 2025,” according to the statement.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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