UPDATE: Per the Wall Street Journal, this is actually not happening and was instead an April Fool's joke gone wrong. VW USA still has not responded to requests for comment, but VW Europe told the publication that it was in fact a joke. The release announcing the news remains live on VW's official U.S. media site with no indication that it's not in fact true. Reuters is now reporting the same, citing three unnamed sources.]
Automaker Volkswagen wants you to know it's serious about electric vehicles — so serious, in fact, that it's officially rebranding around a pun in the U.S. The company revealed in a press release that it's changing its name from "Volkswagen of America" to "Voltswagen of America" in a press release today. News this could happen leaked late Monday, but many speculated it might be an April Fool's joke that got out a bit early, but the automaker seems serious about switching the official brand from May 2021 onward given the official release on its newsroom.
Voltswagen (neé Volkswagen) says that the reason behind the change is to firmly demonstrate its commitment to "future-forward investment in e-mobility," which said more simply, implies that it's super serious about its electric drivetrain plans. In a more literal sense, 'Volkswagen' is actually from the German for "the people's car," which suggests that Voltswagen is a car for … volts?
Sort of, but not really, says VW (hey that still works!):
"We have said, from the beginning of our shift to an electric future, that we will build EVs for the millions, not just millionaires," explained VW CEO and President Scott Keogh in the release announcing the swap. "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 announcement comes just as Volkswagen has begun shipping its all-electric SUV, the ID.4, in the U.S. It ha a price tag of $33,995, before either federal and tax incentives, so that is indeed on the more affordable side of the existing U.S. electric vehicle market, with even more options set to come for cost-conscious consumers in the future as the company spurs its commitments of lowering emissions by achieving one million global EV sales by 2025, and playing host to a lineup of over 70 models across VW and its sub-brands worldwide by 2029.
Voltswagen branding will include use of a higher blue tone on the VW logo for all-electric vehicles, while gas cars will retain the more traditional dark blue look. The actual word "Voltswagen" will be used on EVs in addition to the initials logo, with the icon graphic itself will be the sole branding on gas cars in the U.S. going forward.