On Wednesday, Volkswagen AG's U.S. unit apologized after a false statement it posted about a name change was widely slammed on social media.
The company acknowledged that the false announcement- that it would rename its U.S. operations as the 'Voltswagen of America'- had caused some people and we are sorry for any confusion this has caused.
The stunt, which came just ahead of April Fool's Day on the first of the month, when companies often release prank statements to call attention to its electric vehicle efforts, said the carmaker.
The statement was criticized on social media with some commentators reminding the company's diesel emissions scandal and years of misleading customers and regulators.
In a blog post titled VW lied to sell diesels; now it lied to sell EVs, said the automaker still seems to think lying to the public is an acceptable corporate strategy.
The initial statement, which was posted on its website and accompanied by tweets, was followed globally by Reuters and other outlets and included a detailed description of its purported rebranding efforts and new logos.
The company pulled it late on Tuesday; the renaming was designed to be an announcement in the spirit of April Fool's Day, highlighting the launch of the all electric vehicles and signaling our commitment to bringing electric mobility to all, said a VW U.S. spokesman.
A Volkswagen spokesperson in Germany called the rebranding of a good idea with a focus on marketing.
Scott Keogh did not respond to messages from Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh. The incident marks the latest communication hiccup at the group, which made headlines last year when it withdrew and apologised for an advertisement published on its official Instagram page for its Golf cars that it admitted was racist and insulting.
Still, at least one analyst wrote a research note praising the name change.
VW shares closed on Wednesday after 4.7% higher on Tuesday, while the common shares were down 1% after closing 10.3% higher the morning before.
The German financial watchdog BaFin had no immediate comment, the regulator said this month it was following a recent rally in a routine way over Volkswagen shares.
Volkswagen, the world's second-largest car manufacturer, expects to double electric vehicle sales this year and boost profits for its core brand after moving to fully electric vehicles in a bid to catch up with Tesla. Some VW officials have expressed frustration that its significant U.S. EV efforts have not attracted as much attention as Tesla or General Motors.
Volkswagen wants to invest up to 16 billion euros in digitalization by 2025 in electrification and electric vehicle.
It was set to sell one million EVs worldwide by 2025, Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to using illegal software to rig diesel engine tests in the United States, sparking Germany's biggest corporate crisis and costing the carmaker over 32 billion euros in fines, refits and legal costs.
In 2017 VW pleaded guilty to fraud, obstruction of justice and misleading statements as part of a$ 4.3 billion settlement reached with the U.S. Justice Department over the carmaker's diesel emissions scandal.