Volkswagen’s unsuccessful April Fools’ joke about renaming it Voltswagen threatens the automaker with serious trouble. The US Securities Commission has launched an investigation: experts will have to find out whether the company’s reckless announcement affected the value of its shares.
There is no information on the progress of the investigation yet. Der Spiegel reports that the American representative office of Volkswagen, which launched the duck on the renaming of the brand, has already received a request for data from the SEC and will cooperate with the investigation.
The message that Volkswagen intends to rename the Voltswagen in the United States spread through foreign media on the eve of April 1, 2021. Many publications doubted that such a move was possible, and suggested that this was just an early April Fool’s joke. However, on March 30, information appeared on the Volkswagen of America website that the company was preparing for a rebranding planned for May: supposedly, electric cars of the brand will henceforth be sold on the American market under the Voltswagen brand.
A day after the release was published, it turned out that it was just a marketing move to draw attention to the VW ID.4 electric car – with the word “voltswagen” the company wanted to beat the word “volt”, denoting a unit of measurement of electrical potential. The automaker admitted that the joke went too far and apologized for misleading the public.
A bad joke hit Volkswagen’s image and undermined public confidence in the German automaker. Now, a US Securities Commission investigation has been added to the reputational issues.