Fake VW name change an April Fool's stunt

·1-min read

German carmaker Volkswagen has issued a false news release claiming it will rename its US operations Voltswagen of America, in a marketing stunt designed to call attention to its electric vehicle efforts.

VW came under criticism on social media for Tuesday's misleading news release, some commenters recalling the company's diesel emissions scandal and years of misleading customers and regulators.

"Volkswagen of America will not be changing its name to Voltswagen," a VW US spokesman said in a statement.

"The renaming was designed to be an announcement in the spirit of April Fool's Day, highlighting the launch of the all-electric ID.4 SUV and signaling our commitment to bringing electric mobility to all."

The news release, posted on its website and accompanied by tweets, was reported by Reuters and other outlets globally and included a detailed description of its purported rebranding efforts and new logos.

The company pulled it late Tuesday.

A Volkswagen spokesman in Germany called the rebranding a "nice idea" with a focus on marketing.

Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh did not respond to messages.

At least one analyst wrote a research note praising the name change. VW's preferred shares closed 4.7 per cent higher. Ordinary shares closed up 10.3 per cent.

The world's second-largest carmaker expects to double electric vehicle deliveries and boost profits this year after stepping up its switch to fully electric vehicles.

Some VW officials have expressed frustration that its significant US EV efforts have not drawn as much attention as Tesla or General Motors.

The Volkswagen brand aims to invest 16 billion euros ($A25 billion) in electrification and digitalisation by 2025.

It is aiming to sell one million EVs worldwide by 2025.