So is “Voltswagen” a dumb idea? A brave strike toward the future? An April Fool’s joke?
Volkswagen – supposedly via accident – revealed its purported name change when it posted a press release on its website Monday (quickly removed hours later).
The new name, Voltswagen of America, goes all-in on the car maker’s electric vehicle strategy.
The release, dated April 29, was legit, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans.
That person has confirmed the authenticity to CNBC and asked to remain anonymous because the plans were not meant to be public yet.
The name change – a real deal – apparently will take effect in May. The release cited a “public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility.”
So, “Voltswagen” will be the emblem on all EV models.
Gas-powered vehicles will carry only the VW insignia.
The release also stated to “preserve elements of Volkswagen’s heritage” VW would keep the dark blue color of its logo for gas-powered vehicles and use light blue for “the new, EV-centric branding.”
A CNN story reported the name Voltswagen “did not appear in a search of the US Patent and Trademark Office’s database of trademark applications, though that does not prove the plan isn’t real either, as the company would not have had to apply at this point and could for instance have opted to hold off on such an application for fear its plan would be discovered.”
For doubters, the timing is interesting.
Approaching previous April Fool’s days, companies have had occasion to play jokes. One example: the Mini Yachtsman, a 2012 gag by BMW’s Mini Cooper flouting an amphibious car. (It never happened.)
Volkswagen has said it expects more than 70% of its European sales will be EVs by 2030, up from a prior target of 35%.