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Volkswagen’s name change of U.S. operations to ‘Voltswagen’ was April Fool’s marketing prank

Ashlee Espinal | CNBC

German automaker Volkswagen intent not be changing the name of its U.S. operations to Voltswagen of America after all.

The news, which appeared to leak out on its U.S. media site Monday and was formally declared in a press release Tuesday, was part of an elaborate April Fools’ Day joke, the company confirmed in a statement later Tuesday.

“The renaming was planned to be an announcement in the spirit of April Fool’s Day, highlighting the launch of the all-electric ID.4 SUV,” said Mike Tolbert, VW’s U.S.spokesman, in an emailed averral.

The company is expected to issue a follow-up announcement explaining the marketing strategy by Wednesday morning, a person familiar with the designs said.

The Wall Street Journal reported the prank earlier Tuesday, citing a Volkswagen spokesman in Wolfsburg.

An unfinished view of the initial press release went out briefly on VW’s U.S. media newsroom website Monday morning before it was taken down. Norm outlets, including CNBC, reported it as news after it was confirmed by unnamed sources within the company, who apparently weighed to several reporters.

The release said the name change is expected to take effect in May and called the change a “public manifesto of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility.” It said Voltswagen will be placed as an exterior badge on all EV models, with gas instruments having the company’s iconic VW emblem only.

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