DETROIT – Volkswagen plans to change its brand name in the US to “Voltswagen”, as its production is increasingly moving to electric cars, trying to stay away from the emission fraud scandal.
A person informed about program A that an official announcement is scheduled for Tuesday. The person did not want to be identified because the plans were not made public.
The company posted a news release on its website early Monday announcing the brand name. The news release was noticed by a USA Today reporter before it was removed. The release date was set for April 29.
The early release comes as VW makes reservations about a new ID.4 small electric SUV in the United States. It is the only new electric model of the company to be sold in the United States, although more are planned, including a nostalgic replica of the company’s Microbus.
Even with full ID.4 sales, only a handful of VWs on U.S. roads will be called Voltswagen. The vast majority of VW vehicle sales in the United States will continue to be gasoline in the foreseeable future and will continue to be labeled simply “VW”. Last year, the German automaker sold fewer 326,000 VW cars in the United States.
The source said the name of the Volkswagen Group of America, which includes Audi, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini, will not change. Instead, only the “k” of the Volkswagen brand will change to “t”.
The exterior badge with the name “Voltswagen” will be affixed to the company’s electric vehicles, while gas-powered vehicles will still have a normal “VW”, but there is no brand name on them.
An early news release said the move meant a public announcement of the company’s future investment in electric mobility.
“Maybe we would change our K for T, but what we do not change is the brand’s commitment to making class vehicles for drivers and people everywhere,” said Scott Keog, VW United States CEO in the wrong statement.
Outside the United States, Volkswagen, like some other automakers, has dramatically expanded its EV footprint. In Europe, the company tripled sales of battery-powered cars from 45,000 in 2019 to 134,000 in 2020. VW starts selling its new electric compact ID.3 ahead of tough new emissions restrictions
In the United States, all-electric vehicles accounted for less than 2% of new vehicle sales last year. According to Autodata Corp., General Motors sold under 21,000 Chevrolet Bolts, while Nissan sold just over 9,500 Leaf electric cars at Tesla.
VW was trying to restore its image after the US authorities in 2015. It was discovered that its so-called pure diesel cars cheat on emissions tests. The diesels turned on the pollution control during the Environmental Protection Agency runway tests, then turned them off while on real roads.
Volkswagen pleaded guilty in 2017 to agreeing to pay $ 4.3 billion in civil penalties, billions of dollars more, to buy cars back. Two people were imprisoned.