There’s confusion tonight around whether Volkswagen is really intending to change its name to “Voltswagen” to reflect its pivot toward electric vehicles.
A press release from the German automaker announcing the name change appeared online on Monday, March 29, before being removed a short while later.
While many commentators are suggesting it’s nothing more than an April Fools’ joke that was accidentally posted three days early, others are not so sure.
USA Today, for example, notes that the release was dated April 29, which appears to confirm that the automaker’s American division may indeed be about to undergo a name change for the first time in the company’s 84-year history.
Volkswagen’s hastily removed press release said its electric vehicles would feature an exterior badge bearing the name “Voltswagen,” while gas-powered vehicles will continue to come with the usual “VW” badge.
It added that the move is “more than a name change, ‘Voltswagen’ is a public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility.”
But the statement also included the kind of excruciating pun that you might expect from an April Fool joke: “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.”
USA Today said that according to a source claiming to have knowledge of the matter, the announcement is for real and is not a cheap marketing ploy.
But automakers certainly have a track record when it comes to April 1 jokes, with many enjoying the chance to have some fun on the day. Mini, for example, released details for a Mini Hipster Hatch in 2016, a car featuring windows with built-in Instagram filters, a twin-cassette deck, and a stonewash denim interior.
Kia once touted the Finger Operated Optimum Lever (FOOL), a steering device for the Tinder generation that let you swipe left or right to steer the car, while Honda once claimed to be developing a vehicle fitted with ten selfie cams to capture your mug from every conceivable angle as you drove along.
Digital Trends has reached out to Volkswagen for confirmation of the reported name change and we will update this article if we hear back.
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