All signs point to Volkswagen changing the name of its stateside operation to "Voltswagen of America," according to CNBC. Earlier today, the automaker prematurely published an incomplete press release to its website it planned to share on April 29th. VW quickly took down the announcement, but not before CNBC managed to get a good look at it. The next day, VW made the news official in a tweet, and also published an official press release that gave no indication this was a joke:
We know, 66 is an unusual age to change your name, but we’ve always been young at heart. Introducing Voltswagen. Similar to Volkswagen, but with a renewed focus on electric driving. Starting with our all-new, all-electric SUV the ID.4 - available today. #Voltswagen #ID4 pic.twitter.com/pKQKlZDCQ7— Voltswagen (@VW) March 30, 2021
The company also updated its official site with Voltswagen language this morning. The Wall Street Journal said on Tuesday, March 30th that the company was not changing its name and that the move was something of an early April Fools' joke, but there hasn't been anything official from the company to back that up.
A Volkswagen spokesperson declined to comment on the release, but a source "familiar with the company's plans" told the network the document was authentic. The release characterized the rebranding as a "public declaration of the company's future-forward investment in e-mobility." The change will reportedly see Volkswagen EVs feature a badge that bears the new Voltswagen branding and a lighter blue VW logo. Any gas-powered cars the company sells moving forward will feature only the classic VW emblem in the automaker's signature dark blue color.
Traditional automakers have been all about EV-centric rebrandings in recent months. In January, GM redid its classic logo to evoke "the clean skies of a zero-emissions future." The new design is also a visual play on the company's Ultium battery technology. For Volkswagen, the change would come at a pivotal point in its history. The company plans to offer 300 EV models by 2030 and get to a point where at least 60 percent of the cars it sells in Europe are either hybrids or battery electrics.
Update (3/30 1:15PM ET): Added VW's official tweet announcing its new Voltswagen branding.