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 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.
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 Germany 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.