US regulators are reportedly probing Volkswagen’s botched April Fools’ prank in which it announced the rebranding of its US operation as “Voltswagen” to signify the company’s push into electric vehicles.
The company appeared to accidentally publish a press release on March 29 announcing the news three days before April Fools’ Day.
Several financial news outlets reported on it as fact, citing anonymous company officials who confirmed its authenticity. The following day, Volkswagen released a statement that included quotes from Volkswagen of America CEO Scott Keogh doubling down on the name change.
The ploy helped the stock climb more than 12% before various news outlets began to report that it was in fact an early April Fools’ joke.
Now, the Securities and Exchange Commission is getting involved, according to German news outlet Der Spiegel.
As a matter of policy, the SEC conducts investigations on a confidential basis and does not acknowledge the existence or non-existence of any investigation unless or until charges are filed,” a spokesperson for the agency said.
Representatives for Volkswagen did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.
Earlier this month, Keogh said that he would personally take responsibility for the blunder.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine it taking hold,” Keogh told The Wall Street Journal in a Thursday interview. “If there’s any trust or credibility to be rebuilt from me, I’m going to do it.”
“We might be changing out our K for a T, but what we aren’t changing is this brand’s commitment to making best-in-class vehicles for drivers and people everywhere,” Keogh was quoted as saying in the original “joke” release.