A joke by the German automaker Volkswagen has sparked an investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission New York Times.
In the days leading up to the April Fool’s Day in America, the automaker announced that it would change its name to Volt car, a sign intended to reinforce your commitment to electric vehicle manufacturing.
“We know 66 is an unusual age to change your name, but we have always been young,” wrote Volkswagen’s Twitter account on March 30 in a tweet that has since been deleted. “We are introducing Voltwagen. Similar to Volkswagen, but with a renewed focus on electric driving. Starting with our new fully electric SUV, the ID.4, which is available today.”
- To find out more: Why Volkswagen is now called “Voltwagen”
Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, even tried to join the joke, noting at one point that “[Volkswagen] You can trade our K for a T, but it doesn’t change the brand’s commitment to making the best vehicles. ”
But like that TimesListed companies like Volkswagen can’t fool their shareholders, even if they’re just kidding. Although Volkswagen of America eventually admitted the name change was joking, it was enough to get the SEC’s attention.
In Germany, where Volkswagen is headquartered, there are also laws that require companies to be honest with their shareholders. However, a spokesman for the country’s securities market authority announced this Times that there were no plans to investigate the name change.
The newspaper notes that even if the SEC determines it’s against the law, the automaker is unlikely to receive a serious penalty. In the days following the prank, Volkswagen’s share price was reportedly unaffected, jumping despite the company admitting the name change was a hoax.