U.S. company investigating VW ‘Voltswagen’ marketing and advertising stunt

The U.S. Securities and Trade Fee has opened an inquiry into the U.S. device of Volkswagen’s AG more than a marketing stunt in which it falsely explained it was changing its identify in the United States to “Voltswagen,” a man or woman briefed on the make a difference confirmed.

Spiegel initial noted the inquiry and the SEC’s request for facts about the problem built in early April and quoted VW as confirming the investigation.

Volkswagen declined to remark on the make any difference to Reuters. The SEC did not answer to a request for comment.

The firm in March apologized soon after a phony statement it issued about a phony name modify was extensively slammed on social media.

The stunt, which arrived just in advance of April Fool’s Working day on the initially of the thirty day period, when businesses normally launch prank statements, was meant to simply call notice to its electric powered motor vehicle initiatives, the carmaker mentioned.

The first assertion outlining the title modify, posted on its internet site and accompanied by tweets, was reported by Reuters and other shops globally and integrated a thorough description of its purported rebranding efforts and new logos.

At the very least just one analyst wrote a study notice praising the identify transform. VW’s most popular shares, typical shares and ADRs rose on the day of the phony title announcement.

Volkswagen Team of America CEO Scott Keogh told Reuters in an April 1 job interview that the phony title announcement was a “gag” and an try to “have some humor and “to rejoice our profound focus on electrification.”

Volkswagen in 2015 admitted to making use of unlawful application to rig diesel engine assessments in the United States, sparking Germany’s greatest company disaster and costing the carmaker far more than 32 billion euros in fines, refits and lawful fees.