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Volkswagen Isn't Rebranding Itself Voltswagen

Published by Slashdot on Wed, 31 Mar 2021

Volkswagen is staying Volkswagen. From a report: Volkswagen's U.S. subsidiary said Tuesday the company would rebrand itself as Voltswagen of America to promote its electric car strategy, but a spokesman for the parent company in Germany later said the move was a joke. The name change, which immediately lit up social media and online news sites, was originally intended as an early April Fools' Day stunt to get people talking about VW's ambitious electric car strategy as the company rolls out its first all-electric sport-utility vehicle, the ID. 4, in U.S. dealerships, the spokesman said. The problem for VW is that everyone took it seriously, creating confusion about the company's intentions and moving the shares, putting VW's communications team on the defensive. "We didn't mean to mislead anyone," a Volkswagen spokesman in Wolfsburg told The Wall Street Journal. "The whole thing is just a marketing action to get people talking about the ID.4." The spoof began late Monday, when VW communications in the U.S. published a draft of the press release on the company's website and then quickly took it down, according to VW officials in Germany. They left the document online long enough to grab the attention of journalists and VW fans, sparking a flood of online news and tweets. VW communications officials in the U.S. declined to comment at the time. VW's U.S. unit published the release in full again on Tuesday on the U.S. website, a move that suggested the name change was in fact real and would take effect as stated in the release in May. The press release quoted Scott Keogh as president and CEO of Voltswagen of America saying: "We might be changing out our K for a T, but what we aren't changing is this brand(TM)s commitment to making best-in-class vehicles for drivers and people everywhere." Back in Germany, a VW official told the Journal that the name change shouldn't be taken seriously. "There will be no name change," the official said. But after it became clear the joke's intended recipients were doing exactly that, officials in Germany scrambled to reach their colleagues at VW's U.S. headquarters in Herndon, Va., to pull the plug on the campaign, according to Wolfsburg officials.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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