automobile

Volkswagen Is Dead, Long Live Voltswagen [BUT NOT REALLY]

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It’s official (but not really): Volkswagen of America is going to be Voltswagen of America. A press release dated April 29 ‘leaked’ yesterday to VW of America’s media site, claiming the German company’s U.S. arm was switching its official name by swapping the ‘k’ in Volkswagen to a ‘t.’ The release was reposted today, providing official confirmation of sorts. It also states all vehicles would still wear VW badges, with gas-powered models retaining a dark blue background and electric models adopting a light blue background. The brand’s EVs would also sport script “Voltswagen” badges.

But it’s all a joke/marketing stunt made to bring attention to the company’s EV push. A terrible idea if it were true, the “news” twisted the internet into knots—including, it must be admitted, us—trying to determine whether or not it was an early April Fool’s stunt. As the saying goes, a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. The story was first reported by USA Today, and it sounded like just that sort of globe-trotting fib when it crossed our desks. While VW of American reps declined to comment to MotorTrend, the Wall Street Journal has confirmed the spoof with German executives, who told the outlet, “It’s a premature April Fool’s joke. It’s part of a marketing campaign for the ID4. There will be no name change.” VW of America has itself now confirmed that it will not indeed be changing its name.

The timing of all this, just ahead of a traditionally mischief-heavy holiday, provided plenty of fuel for our skepticism, as did the fact that, until the WSJ report, there was no parallel release or commentary from Volkswagen’s German headquarters. Even so, VW has made some head-scratching decisions in recent years, running the gamut from rebranding its well-known Golf as the Rabbit for a generation to cheating on global diesel-emissions regulations, so we weren’t ready to put anything past the company. The PR stunt comes hot on the heels of the recent debut of the aforementioned Volkswagen ID4 crossover as the first U.S. model in a long line of future EVs planned for the VW family.

This post was originally published on March 29, 2021. Volkswagen Voltswagen of America’s full release is reproduced below.

Herndon, VA, March 30, 2021 – V.2 —Today, Volkswagen Group of America, is unveiling the official change of its U.S. brand name from Volkswagen of America to Voltswagen of America.

More than a name change, “Voltswagen” is a public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility. By definition, Volts are the derived units for electric potential between two points. The new name and branding symbolize the highly-charged forward momentum Voltswagen has put in motion, pursuing a goal of moving all people point-to-point with EVs.

“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. “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. “

This month, the company welcomes the arrival of ID.4, its first long-range all-electric, zero direct emission SUV, in dealerships across America. As well as being designed to compete with mainstream compact SUVs, the ID.4 is the first product to be sold nationwide that confirms the company’s commitment to sustainable mobility.

That’s been the mission since the larger Volkswagen Group became the first major automaker to support the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, with an added target of a 30 percent reduction in the company’s carbon footprint by 2025, and net-carbon neutrality by 2050. A resulting commitment to sell one million EVs worldwide by 2025 will see more than 70 electric models launched across the VW group brands by 2029.

With the introduction of the “Drive Bigger” brand platform in 2019, Volkswagen of America, as it was then, communicated a long-term vision of striving for a higher purpose, challenging us all to move beyond self-interest and to consider being part of something bigger. The company further signaled its intentions by becoming one of five brands that signed up in 2019 to California’s proposed fuel economy regulations, which aim to impose stricter CO2 standards in an effort to help combat climate change.

Voltswagen means thinking big, acting boldly and leading progress.

In 1955 Volkswagen of America was founded, and from the beginning the company dared to be different from other automakers. VW first won the love of the American public with the Type 1 Beetle, which eventually overtook the Ford Model T as the world’s best-selling car, with more than 23 million sold. By establishing a storied legacy of breaking from convention and emphasizing a true driver-vehicle connection, Volkswagen of America in its time has become synonymous with humility, wit and humor, while the actual namesake translates to “the people’s car. “

“As our newly launched ID.4 campaign demonstrates, the humanity at the core of this brand remains its enduring legacy,” said Kimberley Gardiner, senior vice president, Voltswagen of America brand marketing. “The tone of Voltswagen will be a consistent thread between the branded communications for our growing electric fleet to our gas vehicles. Over the course of the next few months, you will see the brand transition at all consumer touch points. This is an exciting moment for us, and we have been working through every avenue to make the transition clear, consistent, seamless and fun for all. “

The company will preserve elements of Volkswagen’s heritage by retaining its iconic VW Dark Blue color for gas-powered vehicles and Light Blue to differentiate the new, EV-centric branding. Starting today, new branding will roll out across all of the company’s advertising, website and social media channels. Moving forward, “Voltswagen” will be placed as an exterior badge on all EV models with gas vehicles sporting the VW emblem only. Exterior and interior signage will soon roll out to all Voltswagen properties and dealerships across the US.

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