An April Fool’s joke could cost Volkswagen millions in finesApril 30, 2021
According to a new report by Der Spiegel, Volkswagen’s “renaming” late last month caught the attention of the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The agency reportedly launched an investigation into the company to determine whether VW’s poorly executed April Fools’ joke about it changing its name to Voltswagen had any impact on its share price. Details of the investigation have not been disclosed at the moment, although the company has confirmed to the German newspaper that the American agency has requested information from a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America (VWoA).
The fuss began a few days before April 1, when the company “accidentally” issued a press release announcing that it was changing its name. A day later, on March 30, VW changed its logos, updated its social media to reflect the new name, and issued an actual press release about the change that included comments from VWoA President and CEO Scott Keough.
However, on March 31, VW did not apologize for the PR move, although many did not like the joke. The company’s ploy angered many news outlets, which published the name change as fact. Even AutoTimesNews became the victim of a joke along with its readers. If you look at the company’s share price during the fake name change, you can see that it rose 12.5%.
The joke was a bold move for a company focused on electrification after it shattered consumer and regulatory confidence in a scandal dubbed Dieselgate, which cost the company billions of dollars in fines. VW has put a lot of effort into building its ID line of electric vehicles: ID.4 shipments began in the US last month. The daring name change might have worked as a joke if VW had done it differently.
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