Soon, Volkswagen will become Voltswagen in the USA. An unfinished press release appeared on the company’s website announcing the change, before being deleted. The Internet never forgets, of course, so the removal was too late to stop its content from being picked up and reported on by various publications.
It might sound like an April Fool’s sent out a few days early, but the release was dated 29 April. Furthermore, citing “a person familiar with the company’s plans,” USA Today says it received confirmation that the news “is not a joke, it’s not a marketing ploy and the plan is for the change to be made permanent”. According to the Associated Press, meanwhile, an official announcement is to be made as soon as Tuesday.
The change is thought to only affect the Volkswagen brand itself, with the Volkswagen Group of America name retained. The errant press release noted that only VW electric cars will receive a ‘Voltswagen’ name badge in the USA, with all other models left as is. At the moment, the only full EV available from VW in the country is the ID.4.
The reason for all this? A key driver is surely to distance the brand from its emissions fixing scandal. It was in the US, after all, that VW was forced to agree to the buyback of hundreds of thousands of diesel-powered cars which had passed emissions tests via unscrupulous means.
The press release, of course, put a brighter spin on things. “The new name and branding symbolize the highly-charged forward momentum Voltswagen has put in motion, pursuing a goal of moving all people point-to-point with EVs,” it said.
When contacted by USA Today about the name change, Volkswagen of America spokesperson Brendan Bradley declined to comment. We’ve since contacted VW’s UK PR office for its take and to see if it can confirm/deny any similar branding changes here.
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