On Tuesday afternoon, the company admitted that the whole thing was a tongue-in-cheek deception that had turned into an utter disaster.
“Volkswagen of America will not be changing its name to Voltswagen,” the company said in a statement sent to CNN Business. “The renaming was designed to be an announcement in the spirit of April Fool’s Day, highlighting the launch of the all-electric ID.4 SUV and signaling our commitment to bringing electric mobility to all. We will provide additional updates on this matter soon.”
The debacle began Monday with what seemed to be a shocking goof — pun absolutely intended — when Volkswagen of America briefly posted an unfinished press release announcing a plan to change its name to Voltswagen.
But during the day Monday some media outlets began reporting, citing anonymous sources at VW, that the name change idea was real. That briefly published press release draft reflected a real plan, those reports said.
Then, on Tuesday morning, VW posted the full, finished release. The company presented it as a straight announcement, as if it were the truth, even though it wasn’t. And it wasn’t April 1 yet.
In the release it posted Tuesday morning Volkswagen claimed that, in America at least, it would be using the Voltswagen name in ads and on chrome badges on the backs of its electric vehicle. The name would not appear on the gasoline-powered cars, the release said.