In March of 2021, Volkswagen issued a press release stating that it was officially changing its name to “Voltswagen.” Well before April 1, and not too far astray from the wild name-changes and logo-alterations happening in the auto industry as electrification takes hold, the automotive press bought this April Fools joke hook, line, and sinker. In part, because Volkswagen PR had confirmed the press release’s veracity.
When VW later admitted that, actually, this was all a big joke, many car journalists were livid. They took the whole thing personally, writing scathing articles and Twitter posts about how their reputation had been compromised because VW had, in their minds, been deceitful, causing the journalists to believe that the joke — that Volkswagen had changed its name to Voltswagen — had been legit. (For the record, if an automaker says something is true, journalists can report that the automaker said it was true. If it ends up not being true, writers shouldn’t feel hurt about it. It’s no big deal. And yet it was.).
Rory Carroll, Editor-In-Chief of Jalopnik, didn’t buy the press release for a single second. Ferdinand Porsche could have come back from the dead, walked into Rory’s house, and told him “Actually, Rory, it is true. Vee ahr chenging ouher nehm to Voltswahhgen.”
Rory would have said “Nice to meet you sir, but please, see your way out of my house. We don’t like liars around these parts. You’re setting a bad example for my daughters.”
Rory was so confident, in fact, that he wrote an article titled: “If Volkswagen Actually Changes Its Name To Voltswagen, I’ll Get A VW Tattoo.” And while, in retrospect, this might not seem like a big deal since the whole concept of “Voltswagen” is laughable, you have to realize that pretty much every other outlet had believed the press release (because, again, Volkswagen had confirmed it).
I personally think Rory should have flexed a bit harder about being right, but instead of pointing at other journalists now mopping up the remnants of their egos (again, for no real reason), Rory took the high road. Good on him.