Yes, the “Voltswagen” rebrand was an April Fools marketing prank (UPDATED)
Volkswagen of America is to introduce a new “Voltswagen” sub-brand to market its electric vehicles. It’s a name long-use by media (including here at Hagerty) to describe the German company’s EVs, and it puts a friendly face on VW’s aggressive push to outsell Tesla.
The news was first reported by CNBC, which revealed that Voltswagen of America would be launched as an operating unit of the Volkswagen Group of America. Despite the revelations coming so close to April Fools’ Day, the story seems legitimate, and has been confirmed by other sources, including Automotive News.
A leaked press release reportedly called the introduction of the Voltswagen brand a “public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility.” The Voltswagen badge would appear in addition to the iconic VW logo on the company’s EVs, CNBC said.
The ID.4 compact SUV is VW’s first shot in its assault on Tesla’s EV dominance, with the ID. Buzz van confirmed to arrive in 2023. Exactly when the first Voltswagen badges will begin to appear has not been revealed, but the leaked press release was dated April 29, 2021, so you can expect more news in the next month.
UPDATE 3/30/21: A VW post on Twitter seems to confirm the change, at least for now:
We know, 66 is an unusual age to change your name, but we’ve always been young at heart. Introducing Voltswagen. Similar to Volkswagen, but with a renewed focus on electric driving. Starting with our all-new, all-electric SUV the ID.4 – available today. #Voltswagen #ID4 pic.twitter.com/pKQKlZDCQ7
— Voltswagen (@VW) March 30, 2021
UPDATE #2, 3/30/21: Reuters is now reporting that the whole thing (which was seemingly corroborated by VW’s own press release) was a marketing stunt, ostensibly intended April Fools’ Day and that we can expect the German automaker to fess up sometime tomorrow.
UPDATE #3, 3/31/21: The press release, linked above in Update #2, has now been removed from the VW media site, and multiple outlets confirmed with VW that this was indeed a hoax. VW admitted as much on Twitter:
What began as an April Fool’s effort got the whole world buzzing. Turns out people are as passionate about our heritage as they are about our electric future. So whether it’s Voltswagen or Volkswagen, people talking about electric driving and our ID.4 can only be a good thing. pic.twitter.com/Rzx8mJgxkT
— Volkswagen (@VW) March 31, 2021