Superlatively Stupid: Volkswagen Allegedly Changing Name to 'Voltswagen'

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Volkswagen is either hellbent on destroying its brand appeal or we appear to be on the receiving end of an early April Fools’ prank because there’s a rumor going around that the automaker is going to be changing its name to “Voltswagen” to better encapsulate what an absolute cringe festival it has become.

Known best for offering unassuming but exceptionally nice to drive automobiles with styling that ages rather well, Volkswagen has been bending over backward to present itself as an EV manufacturer that’s chasing down all the latest trends. But your author is convinced that the initial feedback will be so overwhelmingly negative, VW will ultimately make some excuse and fall back to highlighting its more traditional aspects.

According to USA Today, Volkswagen published a news release dated April 29th on March 29th that outlined its decision to change the corporate moniker. Someone at the company either screwed up royally or just saved the company a fortune by teasing out a decision before it had an opportunity to truly regret it.

From USA Today:

In the errantly published news release, the automaker said that “more than a name change, ‘Voltswagen’ is a public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility.”

“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,” the automaker said in the release.

According to the announcement, electric models would get an exterior badge with the name “Voltswagen,” while gas-powered vehicles will have the standard “VW” badge. It was not immediately clear Monday whether any details of the plan are still subject to change.

Considering I would rather read two dozen of the most vapidly apologetic posts VW has ever released acknowledging its historical ties to Nazi German y than utter the phrase “ Voltswagen,” my gut tells me the plan will be subject to change. Something absolutely has to because this is getting legitimately sad. The electric landscape is not only littered with well-financed EV companies that don’t appear to be working on much more than fluffing their share price but also ends up constantly subjecting us to the least thoughtful marketing imaginable. The solution is always to throw in an electrical pun, or chuck an E somewhere in the name and hope for the best while the physical products they represent become increasingly derivative.

We’re now reaching the point where the segment is becoming a parody of itself. And it’s gradually turning mainstream buyers away while only serving to create more obstacles for an industry that claims to want to normalize EVs. Automakers need to stop worrying about how they’ll be branding their push into electrification and profiting off customer data and start worrying about whether or not consumers are going to be interested. Volkswagen has botched the launch of more than one EV and its current lineup doesn’t exactly boast what we’d call desirable electric ranges. Perhaps now would be a good time to focus on the fundamentals and stop farting around with the logo.

[Image: nrqemi/Shutterstock]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Here4aSammich Here4aSammich on Mar 30, 2021

    If this stupid idea is for the US market only, shouldn't it be "VoltsWAGON" instead of "VoltsWAGEN"? Or maybe "VoltsVAGON" to reflect the likely Mexican build location? I mean, if you are going to pander, go all in....

  • Thegamper Thegamper on Mar 30, 2021

    I will believe it if they are still maintaining the change is happening in May.

    • Matt Posky Matt Posky on Mar 30, 2021

      I still think they'll walk it back. People really seem to hate the decision and the timing allows them to remain silent and then say "nah, it was just an April Fools goof we launched 3 days early."

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.