Symbolize change by swapping a K for a T? The venerable German manufacturer Volkswagen, which relies heavily on electric cars, plans to change its name in the United States to “Voltswagen”, in reference to the unit of electrical voltage.
The company has great ambitions: it wants to become a world leader in the niche of electric vehicles, ahead of Tesla, from 2025. An objective that it seems to want to accompany, in the country of Elon Musk, with a great marketing shift.
“More than a name change, ‘Voltswagen’ allows the group to let the general public know its commitment to electric mobility,” the company justifies in a press release Tuesday.
She had released a document on the subject Monday evening, apparently by mistake. Enough to raise questions about the possibility that this is an April 1 hoax. The German press is particularly fond of jokes and pranks of all kinds during this period.
But a spokesperson for Volkswagen in the United States assured AFP that the change was initially to be announced on April 29 and that it reflected the evolution of the models offered by the group.
This transformation coincides with the launch in the country of a promotional campaign for the ID.4 vehicle, Volkswagen’s all-electric SUV.
“We anticipate that our cars will be all electric in the United States by the end of the next decade, and we hope that the attention we receive today will help communicate these goals and commitments to all,” said the Minister. spokesperson.
In the same vein, General Motors had unveiled at the beginning of the year a new logo intended to symbolize its shift towards vehicles that do not emit polluting emissions, including a new shape for the letter M supposed to suggest an electrical outlet.
The shift to electric also allows Volkswagen to quickly turn the page on the dieselgate scandal, which has cost it billions of euros and part of its reputation.
“This name change marks the attachment to our past as a ‘people’s car'” – what the word Volkswagen means in German – “and our firm belief that our future is to become the supplier of the people’s electric car. », Said Scott Keogh, general manager of the group’s subsidiary in the United States.
The semantic metamorphosis, which will be made official at the beginning of May, only concerns “Voltswagen of America”, the subsidiary of the company which markets the brand’s cars in the United States. It does not apply to the whole group, confirmed a spokesperson.
This subsidiary was started in 1955. “We know that changing your name at 66 is unusual, but we always stayed young in our heads,” she laughed on Twitter, where the account has already been renamed Voltswagen.
The company plans to keep elements of Volkswagen’s heritage, including blue: it will remain dark for fuel-powered vehicles, but will become light for electric vehicles.
Faced with the growing awareness of the problems linked to climate change, this niche has become the new darling of traditional manufacturers like many start-ups.
And in this market, Volkswagen is positioning itself more and more as a direct rival of Tesla to arouse the enthusiasm of customers and investors alike.
By recently presenting an offensive strategy, based on the opening of six giant battery factories in Europe, as part of a carefully staged “Power day”, the German manufacturer thus wished to make an impression in the United States. With success: American investors, including small holders gathered on online forums, rushed for the action.
The group is not at its first communication blow of this kind: for the launch of a new Golf in 2003, Volkswagen had renamed the city where it is based in Germany for a few weeks, Wolfsburg, in “Golfsburg” .