Volkswagen accidentally leaks 'Voltswagen in America' name change to emphasize electric vehicles

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Volkswagen accidentally posted a press release on its website a month early announcing a new name for its U.S. operations, 'Voltswagen of America,' as it amps up efforts to compete with the likes of Tesla.

A spokesman for the company declined to comment on the release Monday, which was dated April 29 and has been taken down from the website, CNBC reported.

The press release was incomplete, citing the need for an additional quote and photography from the automaker's plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee

A person familiar with the company's plans confirmed the release's authenticity to CNBC, but asked to remain anonymous because the news was not yet meant to be public. 

The press release called the change a 'public declaration of the company's future-forward investment in e-mobility.' 

The company has previously telegraphed that it doesn't intend to be upended by electric vehicle superstar Tesla, including the announcement of its 'Power Day,' according to the New York Times.

New Volkswagen ID.4 SUV electric cars are ready for delivery at the carmaker's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. The company accidentally posted a press release on its website a month early announcing a new name for its U.S. operations: 'Voltswagen of America'

Voltswagen of America would remain an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America, according to the press release that has been taken off the company's website. Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, speaks during a Volkswagen AG event in Los Angeles last year

The withdrawn announcement said Voltswagen of America, with headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, would remain an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America and a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, which has its headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. 

Voltswagen will be placed as an exterior badge on all electric vehicle (EV) models with gas vehicles having the company's iconic VW emblem only, the release said.

The new badge wasn't released as part of the apparently accidental revealing of the new name. 

The company planned to retain the dark blue color of the VW logo for gas-powered vehicles to 'preserve elements of Volkswagen's heritage,' while using light blue to differentiate 'the new, EV-centric branding,' the release said. 

The Volkswagen ID.4 will be part of the company's electric vehicle offerings in the U.S.

The withdrawn VW press release called the U.S. name change a 'public declaration of the company's future-forward investment in e-mobility' 

The exterior of the U.S. headquarters for Volkswagen of America in Herndon, Virginia, in September 2007. The headquarters will adopt the new U.S. company name, Voltswagen of America, as a sign of its commitment to the electric vehicle market

Volkswagen has invested in multiple partnerships targeted at battery technology, charging and self-driving software with with plans to invest in six large battery factories, although its battery-electric vehicle sales stood at just 3% of its 9.3 million total vehicle deliveries last year, Forbes reported.  

General Motors - one of the other big electric vehicle manufacturers in the U.S. along with Tesla - previously used the name Volt for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle between 2010 and 2019.

Tesla, along with GM, are two of the biggest electric vehicle producers in the U.S. Founder Elon Musk has driven the car company to the front of the line when it comes to electric vehicles

A name change would be the latest EV news from Volkswagen, which earlier this month held a 'Power Day' to discuss its EV technologies and announced goals of significantly increasing sales of EVs through the end of the decade.

The company expects more than 70% of its Volkswagen brand's European sales will be EVs by 2030, up from a previous target of 35%.

In the U.S. and China, it expects half of its sales to be EVs in that time frame.  

Tesla, meanwhile, is far-and-away the market leader in electric vehicles, with nearly 82 percent of EVs sold in the US, according to Electrek. But VW leads the market in Europe, according to MarketWatch.

Analysts at UBS investment bank have said Volkwsagen could be poised to be a stiff competitor globally - and the name change is another case of the company pressing the gas toward that goal. 

General Motors has made its first substantial logo change in more than half a century as part of its pivot towards electric vehicles. The all-caps acronym featured in the company's logo since 1938 has been lowercased, with the space around the 'm' suggesting the shape of an electrical plug

Meanwhile, GM earlier this year would not go as far as changing its name, but announced a new logo and ad campaign focused on EVs.

The Detroit automaker's new logo features its GM initials, although in lowercase letters, with the 'm' underlined in a nod to its Ultium battery cell platform underpinning the company's new EVs.

The blue logo letters are inside a rounded box of the same color, replacing a white GM underlined within a darker blue block.

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