The last 24 hours have been hectic for Volkswagen, to say the least. A press release allegedly post-dated to go live on VW's various online entities on April 29 found its way to the live version of its media site on Monday, quickly triggering a series of breaking news articles. The commotion? Volkswagen would rename its American operations "Voltswagen" as a flag-in-the-sand statement regarding its all-in approach to electric mobility. Now, a day later, we're learning that this wasn't an early April Fools' Day joke—as we initially feared—but a reality.
Updated at 6 p.m. ET on 03/30/2021: As it turns out, this really was a botched April Fool’s joke. Who’d have known? Read the update here.
According to a press release issued Tuesday morning, this is an "official change of the U.S. brand name from Volkswagen of America to Voltswagen of America."
Volkswagen, a brand that's existed for nearly a century, is, in fact, being legally renamed in the U.S. to Voltswagen for the sole purpose of rockin' the "Volt" buzzword. What a time to be alive.
Per the press release:
"More than a name change, 'Voltswagen' is a public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility. By definition, Volts are the derived units for electric potential between two points. The new name and branding symbolize the highly-charged forward momentum Voltswagen has put in motion, pursuing a goal of moving all people point-to-point with EVs."
According to the Associated Press, the new name will only be reflected on the company's electric vehicles, like the ID.4 crossover that we recently tested, while the gasoline-powered cars and SUVs will allegedly retain the traditional VW badge, which was recently redesigned. No actual brand name will appear on them aside from that.
"We might be changing out our K for a T, but what we aren't changing is this brand’s commitment to making best-in-class vehicles for drivers and people everywhere,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Voltswagen of America in a press release. “The idea of a ‘people’s car’ is the very fabric of our being. We have said, from the beginning of our shift to an electric future, that we will build EVs for the millions, not just millionaires. This name change signifies a nod to our past as the peoples’ car and our firm belief that our future is in being the peoples’ electric car.”
This move follows drastic changes on behalf of Volkswagen Auto Group to cease most of its internal-combustion activities, including shuttering all of its non-electrified motorsport programs and, most recently, the likes of Audi canceling further development of gasoline-powered engines.
By putting all of its eggs in an electrified basket and striving to produce one million EVs annually by 2023, VW aims to achieve a 30 percent reduction in its carbon footprint by 2025 and net-carbon neutrality by 2050.
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