Volkswagen is really rebranding as ‘Voltswagen’ in the US


Volkswagen is changing the name of its American brand to Voltswagen, in a not-so-subtle nod to the German automaker’s multibillion-dollar effort to become the biggest electric vehicle manufacturer in the world.

The company was apparently planning to make the announcement at the end of April but accidentally published a press release about the name change early Monday afternoon, which was first spotted by CNBC before it was taken down. The proximity of the name change to April Fool’s Day initially raised suspicions that it was just a joke. But VW insists that it’s a real thing, so here we are.

The company confirmed the change to The Verge, and the announcement was later published on Tuesday morning. The larger Volkswagen Group (which sits over brands like Audi, Porsche, and others) will keep the Volkswagen name for its American division. The name change will officially take effect May 2021.

It’s not clear how the new name will be incorporated into the company’s upcoming slate of electric and gas-powered vehicles. For example, will it appear in any of the branding for the VW Atlas SUV, which typically gets 24 miles per gallon of gas? It seems doubtful.

“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.”

The name change is by far the most outrageous move from Volkswagen to draw attention to its electric vehicle efforts. Others include Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess joining Twitter and letting a bit loose, a la Elon Musk, and the company’s recent “battery day” event, where it showed off the technology it’s developing. (Musk also authored a name change of his own recently, taking on the title of “Technoking” at Tesla.)

But while the company is pouring tons of money into this push into EVs, there is currently only one long-range electric Volkswagen for sale in the United States: the ID 4 SUV. The US also currently lags behind China and Europe when it comes to overall EV sales, despite being home to Tesla.

Voltswagen — sorry, Volkswagen isn’t the only legacy automaker leaning on groan-worthy puns or redesigned logos to emphasize its shift from internal combustion engine vehicles to ones powered by electrons. Earlier this year, General Motors unveiled a new logo meant to evoke the shape of an electrical plug.

We’re still waiting on the news that Ford is changing its name to the atomic symbol for Lithium.