(Reuters) – The US Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into the US unit for Volkswagen AG on a marketing stunt in which it incorrectly stated that it changed its name in the US to "Voltswagen", informed a person in the matter confirmed.
Spiegel first reported the inquiry and the SEC's request for information on the matter, which was made in early April, and quoted VW as confirming the investigation.
Volkswagen refused to comment on the matter to Reuters. The SEC did not respond to a request for comment.
The company apologized in March after a false statement it issued about a false name change was widely circulated on social media.
The stunt, which came just before April Fool & # 39 ;s Day the first of the month, when companies often release prank statements, was meant to draw attention to their electric vehicle efforts, the automaker said.
The first statement describing the name change, published on its website and accompanied by tweets, was reported by Reuters and other outlets globally and contained a detailed description of its alleged redesign and new logos.
At least one analyst wrote a research note praising the name change. VW's preference shares, ordinary shares and ADR increased on the same day as the false name was announced.
Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh told Reuters in an interview on April 1
In 2015, Volkswagen admitted to using illegal software to rig diesel engine tests in the United States, which gave Germany's biggest corporate crisis and cost the carmaker more than 32 billion euros in fines, refunds and legal costs.