What is VW thinking?
Volkswagen of America will become Voltswagen (emphasis added) of America in April, according to a press release briefly available on the automaker's Web site. The company has already removed this document.
Given the timing, the obvious initial reaction was that this was going to be an April Fool's joke by the automaker to promote its EVs. However, an unnamed "person familiar with the company's plans" told Automotive News that this wasn't just a prank.
An anonymous insider told USA Today that this change would be permanent.
Motor1.com reached out to VW for more details, but the company provided no comment
Despite these anonymous statements, there is good reason to be dubious about Volkswagen changing its name to Voltswagen for an extended period of time. First, searches of the US Patent and Trademark Office and World Intellectual Property Organization show no live trademarks for "Voltswagen."
Also, rebrandings are expensive. Every reference to the company has to change, whether it's online or any of the myriad documents that dealers use to sell a vehicle. Is all of that effort with changing one letter in a name?
VW still sells a lot of vehicles in the US that don't offer any form of electrification. While lots of EVs are on the way, the only one currently available in America is the ID.4. Plus, VW CEO Ralf Brandstätter recently said the automaker would "still need combustion engines for a while" and indicated the Golf, Passat, T-Roc, and Tiguan would form the core for the ICE models. It seems a bit premature to rebrand as Voltswagen when so many products aren't EVs.
One possibility about this upcoming announcement is that it could be a temporary change, rather than a long-lasting one. This isn't without precedent, either. In 2003, Wolfsburg, the city where VW has its headquarters in Germany, briefly became Golfsburg to mark the launch of the fifth-gen Golf.