Just days before April 1st, VW briefly posted a major newsflash or make that faux leak: it would rebrand its BEVs Voltswagen. “Thank goodness,” says VW’s PR guru Mark Gillies, “someone noticed.” That’s what he said when the VWCA asked him whether the Volts branding was a hoax. And he notes VW didn’t trademark the Voltswagen brand name. Read that hint, hint, we’re just fooling.
Many news outlets and their reporters, however, didn’t find this stunt humous at all. They fell for it. And now they wonder why a firm known for emissions skirting would fiddle with the truth? In that sense, Voltswagen backfired. And Gillies admits Voltswagen was more deceptive than playful.
But in terms of free publicity Voltswagen did revive interest in the brand. And it bumped up VW’s stock price. But the prank didn’t do much for its ID.4 BEV. VW’s fib didn’t focus on its new long-range BEV.