The US subsidiary of Volkswagen (DE: VOWG_p ) AG issued a false press release saying it was changing the name of its US operations to “Voltswagen of America”, in a marketing stunt designed to draw attention to its plans for electric vehicles, the automaker said.
Volkswagen drew criticism on social media for its misleading press release, with some users recalling the company’s diesel emissions scandal and years of misleading customers and regulators.
The initial statement, posted on its website and accompanied by Twitter messages, was reported by Reuters and other media outlets globally and included a detailed description of its purported rebranding efforts and new logos.
The company withdrew the statement Tuesday night.
“Volkswagen of America will not be changing its name to Voltswagen. The name change was designed to be an announcement in the spirit of April Fools’ Day, highlighting the launch of the all-electric ID.4 SUV and signaling our commitment to bringing electric mobility to everyone,” a VW USA spokesman said in a statement.
A spokesman for Volkswagen in Germany called the rebranding a “good idea” focused on marketing. Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh did not respond to messages.
“Apparently no one in the approval process at @VW said, hey, maybe we shouldn’t lie to the press given, you know, the whole broadcast lying thing,” said Dawn Kopecki, senior editor at CNBC.com. , On twitter.
At least one analyst wrote a research note praising the name change. VW preferred shares were flat on Wednesday after closing 4.7% higher on Tuesday.
The world’s second-largest automaker expects to double electric vehicle deliveries and boost profits for its main brand this year, after stepping up its shift to fully electric vehicles.