It’s official. After an apparent accidental posting of the press release yesterday, Volkswagen announced today that it is, yes, actually changing the name of its U.S. operations to Voltswagen. The switch will be officially flipped from Volkswagen of America to Voltswagen of America in May and not, as some thought, on April Fool’s Day
Update 3-31-21: VW made it look official, with spokespeople even confirming the news directly to journalists, but this was indeed an April Fool’s Joke.
The cause of the new name is not a mystery, especially given VW’s recent intensive push to build and sell more electric vehicles. At a corporate event called Power Day earlier this month, VW unveiled plans to build six massive battery factories in Europe by the end of the decade and talked about its new unified cell technology battery strategy that will launch in 2023. The company also just started delivering its all-electric ID.4 CUV to dealerships in the U.S. earlier this month and customer deliveries of the new EV have also stared in Europe and China.
Speaking of VW’s global reach, it should be stated that the main Volkswagen AG company, the one headquartered in Germany, is keeping the Volkswagen name (for now, anyway). In the U.S., though, VW dealerships will be getting new exterior and interior signage in the near future and the cars on the lot will look different, too. VW said that its electric vehicles will get the new “Voltswagen” exterior badge while gas vehicles will soon some with the VW emblem only. The current dark blue VW logo will continue to be used on gas vehicles, while EVs will soon sport a lighter blue version.
“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 statement. “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.”
VW has been using the Voltswagen name in its EV advertising for almost a decade. I first saw it on a sign in Oslo, Norway in 2013 that was advertising the e-up!, a small EV that was never sold in the U.S.
VW says its new Voltswagen name symbolizes more than a focus on electric vehicles. Since “volts are the derived units for electric potential between two points,” the company said in a statement, “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.”