WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Volkswagen AG’s U.S. device apologized on Wednesday soon after a untrue statement it issued about a name adjust was commonly slammed on social media.

FILE Photo: A Volkswagen brand is display with an American flag at a automobile dealership in Carlsbad, California, U.S., September 23, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

The company acknowledged that the phony announcement – proclaiming it would rename its U.S. operations as ‘Voltswagen of America’ – experienced “upset some persons and we are sorry about any confusion this has triggered.”

The stunt, which arrived just in advance of April Fool’s Working day on the initially of the month, when organizations often launch prank statements, was meant to phone interest to its electric automobile initiatives, the carmaker said.

The statement was criticized on social media, with some commentators recalling the company’s diesel-emissions scandal and a long time of deceptive prospects and regulators.

Automotive Information, in a weblog write-up titled “VW lied to sell diesels now it lied to promote EVs,” claimed the automaker “still looks to think lying to the public is an acceptable company technique.”

The original statement outlining the name transform, posted on its website and accompanied by tweets, was reported by Reuters and other outlets globally and integrated a detailed description of its purported rebranding attempts and new logos.

The organization pulled it late on Tuesday.

“The renaming was built to be an announcement in the spirit of April Fool’s Day, highlighting the start of the all-electric powered ID.4 SUV and signaling our dedication to bringing electrical mobility to all,” a VW U.S. spokesman claimed.

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A Volkswagen spokesman in Germany named the rebranding a “nice idea” with a aim on advertising. Volkswagen Team of The united states CEO Scott Keogh did not answer to messages.

The incident marks the most recent conversation hiccup at the group, which created headlines previous year when it withdrew and apologised for an advert posted on its official Instagram page for its Golf cars that it admitted was racist and insulting.

Still, at minimum one analyst wrote a exploration take note praising the identify change.

VW’s most well-liked shares ended up flat on Wednesday soon after closing 4.7% better on Tuesday, though frequent shares ended up down 1%, getting shut 10.3% better the prior working day.

German monetary watchdog BaFin experienced no immediate remark. The regulator mentioned this thirty day period it was looking at Volkswagen shares in a routine way pursuing a new rally.

Volkswagen, the world’s 2nd-premier carmaker, expects to double electric auto deliveries and improve profits for its core brand name this year after stepping up its swap to entirely electrical cars in a bid to catch up with Tesla.

Some VW officers have expressed stress that its considerable U.S. EV attempts have not drawn as a great deal attention as Tesla or Common Motors.

The Volkswagen brand name aims to spend 16 billion euros ($19 billion) in electrification and digitalization by 2025. It has dedicated to sell one million EVs around the globe by 2025.

Volkswagen in 2015 admitted to making use of unlawful software package to rig diesel engine exams in the United States, sparking Germany’s largest corporate crisis and costing the carmaker much more than 32 billion euros in fines, refits and legal expenditures.

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In 2017, VW pleaded guilty to fraud, obstruction of justice and making wrong statements as portion of a $4.3 billion settlement arrived at with the U.S. Justice Department more than the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal.

($1 = .8519 euros)

Reporting by David Shepardson Further reporting by Hans Seidenstuecker Editing by Howard Goller, Raju Gopalakrishnan and Bernadette Baum

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