Remember when Volkswagen Group of America tried to pull off an April Fool’s prank by saying they will change their name to Voltswagen? While it might have been a harmless prank, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is not taking the matter lightly.

The government agency recently opened an inquiry regarding Volkswagen’s marketing stunt. According to the SEC, the failed marketing stunt may have favorably influenced Volkswagen’s stock price. Under the SEC's guidelines, publicly traded companies cannot make gags that could potentially influence a company’s stock prices.

Details about the investigation have yet to be disclosed but the automaker confirmed to German publication ‘Der Spiegel’ that the US SEC has indeed requested information from Volkswagen Group of America regarding the ‘Voltswagen’ prank.

VW being checked by SEC after backfired

The automaker stated that the failed April Fools’ prank was just to highlight the brand’s EV efforts and willingness to go zero emissions. Many media outlets were led to believe that the change to ‘Voltswagen' was real since there was a press release that was temporarily made available last March 29, 2021.

Volkswagen, however, had to step in, just before April 1, 2021, to clear up the matter and say it was just a joke all along. In an age where fake news articles are prevalent, Volkswagen’s prank did not sit well with media outlets. And now, authorities are knocking on Volkswagen’s doors since the fake name change may have resulted in the company committing a stock market violation.

The company may be making strides when it comes to electrification. But when it comes to making marketing stunts or April Fool's gags, they might need to rethink their strategies.

Source: Der Spiegel via Automotive News