Just before the 1st of April, Volkswagen USA revealed a rather drastic name change to reflect an all-electric future for the company. It changed its name to Voltswagen, and while this was later found out to be an April Fools joke, the company quickly realised that it doesn’t count if it’s officially announced two days beforehand. Even before that a press release was “leaked”, hinting at this change.
The thing is, is that this name change had quite the effect on the share price of the company, with the value rocketing by 12.5%. Obviously, this called the reasoning behind this ‘joke’ into question, and now the SEC is looking into it, with Der Spiegel confirming that the SEC is looking into the correlation between the joke and the share price.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The investigation has only just started, and this definitely doesn’t mean VW is guilty. VW told the Financial Times that influencing the market price “was not and is not the aim of the campaign”, and they are cooperating with the SEC.
Regardless of whether the company receives a fine from the SEC, this likely won’t touch what VW is usually used to after the fines behind Dieselgate.
Tesla has previously been fined for manipulating the stock price after Elon Musk tweeted a “false and misleading” statement about taking the company private. This resulted in a 14% share value surge, but a $20 million fine beside the agreement that Musk would step down as chairman.