VW investigated over “April Fools Joke”

A press release which suggested the German carmaker Volkswagen would be renaming itself “Voltswagen” to reflect its electric vehicle aspirations is being investigated by financial regulators in America after the company’s share price rose on the announement.

German newspaper Der Spielgel reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission is checking after the spoof release was published on 29 March.

Website The Verge adds Volkswagen’s stock price increased up to 12.5% at one point, the equivalent of billions of dollars of market value.

The Verge adds that the Volkswagen’s American subsidiary “accidentally” published a draft press release about changing its name to Voltswagen and that after some news outlets reported on that apparently errant admission, the company followed up with an official press release on March 30th, which included quotes from Volkswagen of America CEO Scott Keogh claiming the change was really happening.

“Ultimately, the stunt turned out to be a poorly telegraphed (and early) April Fools’ joke, and multiple news outlets — including the Associated Press — said that Volkswagen of America representatives lied and told them the name change was really happening,” the report explains.

“It’s unclear what the SEC is specifically interested in learning about, or what laws VW could have even broken in the first place,” it adds. “But the agency has previously come after Tesla CEO Elon Musk for tweeting things that turned out not to be true about his company.”

(Picture – VW Newsroom)

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