SEC Actually Will Investigate Volkswagen Over April Fools' Prank

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

We began April talking about Volkswagen’s April Fool’s Day prank that went awry, and we end the month back on the same topic. Circle of life!

We’re back on that topic because the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating what happened.

We reported, way back at the beginning of the month, that the SEC might investigate. And now, we know that it will.

The New York Times says Volkswagen did not deny reports from Der Spiegel and other German media outlets that it is under investigation by the SEC.

That’s because regulators tend to frown upon companies misleading stockholders, even if the company does so as part of an elaborate joke. As a reminder, Volkswagen initially told the press that the name change to Voltswagen was no prank and would really happen.

Apparently, German regulators aren’t going to bother with an investigation, despite similar rules in that country regarding honesty.

The paper of record also suggests that even if the SEC finds a violation, the penalty is unlikely to be severe, in part because shares continued to rise even after VW admitted it was all a prank done in the name of “fun”.

We don’t like to say we told you so…but we kinda told you so.

[Image: Volkswagen]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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8 of 22 comments
  • Marc Marc on Apr 30, 2021

    The SEC is going to have to play a larger role in reining in the craziness. Rising and falling stocks have less to do with market fundamentals and more to do with who is trending on Twitter and Reddit. Musk has this figured out. Of course Voltswagen and the rest want to get in on the action. And of course it is (or becomes) stock manipulation. To the moon!!! The SEC is going to have to step up for the sake of the integrity of financial markets (if there ever was any). Not just in the auto sector.

    • See 2 previous
    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on May 05, 2021

      @dal20402 I had a small position in Corporate Universe (COUV), they halted it because: "The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities of COUV because of questions regarding the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace since at least December 1, 2020. Those questions relate to publicly available information concerning COUV including: (a) a statement made by COUV on December 1, 2020 that it is currently selling a mask proven to filter 98% of COVID-19 particles and is scientifically proven to kill COVID-19 particles; and (b) a statement made by COUV on December 16, 2020 that it has entered into a definitive letter of intent to acquire a company that holds 30 patents related to carbon ion battery technology." But then later resumed trading with no penalty and not even a "our bad" because there was ***zero*** reason to ***halt trading*** in the first place. Plunged about 90% at one point... who went short or bought puts, besides the SEC of course? Meanwhile it was OK that all of the brokers suspended or limited trading to 1 share during the GME fiasco, to not investigate the obvious collusion between Robinhood and Citadel, oh and not to mention allowing GME to be short 140% in the first place. "Approximately 140 percent of GameStop's public float had been sold short, and the rush to buy shares to cover those positions as the price rose caused it to rise even farther." Capone and Shkreli are two side of the same coin, organized crime owns D.C. and by extension runs the SEC.

  • EBFlex EBFlex on Apr 30, 2021

    Seeing as Jo Jo has accomplished everything on the agenda (steal an election, outrageously raise taxes, create a vaccine as a candidate, fall up a flight of stairs and then blame a slight breeze, etc), I can see how his SEC has time for this.

  • Namesakeone Namesakeone on May 01, 2021

    It makes me wonder if the Securities and Exchange Commission has anything better to do.

  • Dantes_inferno Dantes_inferno on May 03, 2021

    I see having a sense of humor is no longer in style these days.

    • RHD RHD on May 05, 2021

      Silly extremist political thinking posts are still going on, no matter how much they make the poster look like a gullible fool.