Volkswagen of America now admits that it lied to a number of reporters this week about rebranding its North American division to "Voltswagen," a nod to its dedication to electric vehicles.
It's a confusing mess of a story, so here's what happened. VW communications teams intentionally leaked a draft about the rebranding earlier this week, as The Wall Street Journal reports. The media quickly picked up on the news and covered it. Journalists were astonished when Volkswagen later confirmed the rebranding, specifically noting that it wasn't in fact an April Fools' joke.
Digging its own hole even further, Volkswagen (or "Voltswagen?") of America dropped a press release — which has since been taken down — in which CEO Scott Keogh noted that the "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." Even Wall Street was ready to change up the name for the company.
But on Wednesday, the automaker had to make yet another U-turn, telling Reuters and the WSJ that it was in fact an early April Fools' joke.
"We didn’t mean to mislead anyone," a VW spokesman told the WSJ. "The whole thing is just a marketing action to get people talking about the ID.4."
Talk about mixed messaging. It's not even April 1, and big name brands are already having to dig themselves out of a PR nightmare.
Is the carmaker able to turn this around again? Maybe they did actually adopt the moniker "Voltswagen" after all?
Happy April Fools' Day, I guess.
READ MORE: No, Volkswagen Isn’t Rebranding Itself Voltswagen [The Wall Street Journal]
More on the saga: VW's New “Voltswagen” Name Not an April Fool's Joke