Volkswagen Name Change Is Nothing More Than a Bad April Fools’ Joke

Early Monday morning, automotive media across the world caught a quick glimpse of a now-deleted press release by Volkswagen. In short, the German carmaker claimed it would change its name to Voltswagen, given its massive push into the world of electric cars. However, with April fools’ day right around the corner, the whole thing felt quite unusual.

Part of what set this initial story ablaze was that the carmaker confirmed the name change in a follow-up press release. However, as The Wall Street Journal reports, it was all just a big joke. As you might imagine, even a silly stunt like this gained massive attention for one main reason.

Is Volkswagen actually changing its name to Voltswagen?

A red 2021 Volkswagen GTI four-door hatchback traveling on a two-lane highway through arid mountains on a sunny day
2021 Volkswagen GTI | Volkswagen of America, Inc.

In short, no. One of the world’s largest carmakers won’t change its entire brand just to encompass a new product line. According to The Wall Street Journal, a Volkswagen executive confirmed that the name change stunt was just a joke. However, the same executive also confirmed that the carmaker’s approach to the joke understandably confused automotive media and readers alike.

This is largely because Volkswagen confirmed that its name change was actually happening via a second press-release. Additionally, this April fools’ joke arrived a few days early, causing even more confusion in the process. Regardless of the intention, this move got the world talking about the brand.

As you might imagine, since the name change centered the world of EVs, its main goal was to promote one of the brand’s newest and most important models in the U.S., the all-electric ID.4.

This was all to promote the new ID.4

A dark-blue 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 at the Bonneville Salt Flats at sunset
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 | Volkswagen

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In a statement reported by The Wall Street Journal, Volkswagen’s main intention was to draw attention toward the ID.4. This has largely to do with the ID.4’s position in the auto market and its importance to the automaker in the U.S. That’s because the ID.4 is an all-electric crossover that fits perfectly into one of the auto market’s most popular segments.

Since a name change for a massive automaker such as Volkswagen would make it into traditional news, the shock would lead even non-car-related audiences to look up the brand. The goal there was to generate some free press for the new ID.4. While this, in theory, is a solid move to promote this new model, its execution is its main fault.

What actually happened here?

A dark-gray 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan compact crossover SUV parked in a desert with mountains in the background
2021 Volkswagen Tiguan | Volkswagen of America

If we had to guess, this Volkswagen story likely stems from a massive mistake. That original press release was likely not supposed to go up ahead of the time in which it did. Once it was already up, the automaker might’ve chosen to double-down instead of just walking it back initially. However, since people started taking this story quite seriously, the carmaker obviously had to step in.

A second theory conjured up by conspiracy theorists across the web is that the name change was, in fact, real. However, given the massive backlash, the company decided to blame it on April fools’ day. Regardless of whether the press is good or bad, the campaign got us all talking about the new ID.4.