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Volkswagen US spokesman confirms ‘Voltswagen’ rebrand is an April Fool’s joke

Volkswagen’s US subsidiary is keeping its name and will not rename itself “Voltswagen,” a company spokesman said Tuesday, confirming that an earlier announcement was an April Fool’s joke.

The German automaker’s US subsidiary recreated its social media pages with the monniker “Voltswagen of America” that it said represented its “future-forward investment in e-mobility,” according to a press release that was widely covered, including by AFP.

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But VW spokesman Mark Gillies confirmed in an email that the “Voltswagon” rebrand was a joke.

Volkswagen of America issued false statements this week saying it would change its brand name to “Voltswagen,” to stress its commitment to electric vehicles, only to reverse course Tuesday and admit that the supposed name change was a joke.

Mark Gillies, a company spokesman, confirmed Tuesday that the statement had been a pre-April Fool’s Day joke after having insisted Monday that the release was legitimate and the name change accurate. The company’s false statement was distributed again Tuesday, saying the brand-name change reflected a shift to more battery-electric vehicles.

Volkswagen’s intentionally fake news release, highly unusual for a major public company, coincides with its efforts to repair its image as it tries to recover from a 2015 scandal in which it cheated on government emissions tests and allowed diesel-powered vehicles to illegally pollute the air.

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