Volkswagen issued a false news release, saying it was a joke

Volkswagen of America issued statements Monday and Tuesday saying it would change its brand name to Voltswagen, then contradicted it Tuesday and said the release was false and a joke

DETROIT — Volkswagen of America issued false statements this week saying it would change its brand name to “Voltswagen,” as a way to stress its commitment to electric vehicles, only to reverse course Tuesday and admit that the supposed name change was just a joke.

Mark Gillies, a company spokesman, confirmed Tuesday that the statement had been a pre-April Fool’s Day joke, after having insisted Monday that the release was legitimate and the name change accurate.

The company’s false release was distributed again Tuesday, saying the brand name change reflected VW’s switch to more battery-electric vehicles.

The company is trying to change its image and recover from a 2015 scandal in which it cheated on government emissions tests and allowed diesel-powered vehicles to illegally pollute the air.

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