“Voltswagen” April Fool’s Joke; ID.3 & ID.4 For China
The internet was buzzing with the news on Tuesday that Volkswagen planned to rebrand its electric cars in North America as “Voltswagens.” The story was widely reported before the company admitted it was all an April Fool’s publicity stunt designed to attract attention to its all-new ID.4 electric SUV that is going on sale in the US now. Perhaps they have different calendars in Germany.
The mock press release went out on Tuesday and was quickly deleted, but not before news organizations made copies of it. CNBC reported the name change was expected to take effect in May and would be a “public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility. The new name and branding symbolize the highly-charged forward momentum Voltswagen has put in motion, pursuing a goal of moving all people point-to-point with EVs.”
Once the announcement became public, Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen of America, issued a statement saying, “We might be changing out our K for a T, but what we aren’t changing is this brand’s commitment to making best-in-class vehicles for drivers and people everywhere.” Later in the day, Volkswagen rather sheepishly admitted it was all a rather silly attention-getting ploy and promised a fuller explanation on Wednesday, according to a subsequent CNBC story. Meanwhile, the company is ramping up its advertising campaign in America for the ID.4 to convince people the ID.4 is the perfect car for everyone. See the video below.
ID.4 Sales Begin In China As ID.3 Production Moves Forward
In China, Volkswagen is leading off its electric car sales with the ID.4 SUV, which is manufactured in Anting by SAIC–VW and in Foshan by FAW–VW. The SAIC version, called the ID.4 X, has been in production since last October, and the FAW version, called the ID.4 Crozz, began production in December. Both will be available in 5 trim levels starting at 199,900 yuan after subsidies, with top-of-the-line versions priced at 272,000 yuan after subsidies. Those numbers translate to between $30,416 and $41,524 — again, after all subsidies. The base car will have a 58 kWh battery and an NEDC range of 400 km.
The VW–SAIC factory in Anting is a new facility where only MEB-based battery electric cars will be produced. The Foshan factory will build both conventional models with combustion engines based on the MQB platform and purely electric MEB models on a joint production line. Volkswagen plans to offer 8 ID-branded models in China. One of them will be the ID.6 with third row seating. According to InsideEVs, that car will come with an 85 kWh battery.
ID.3 Coming To China Later This Year
Originally, the ID.3 was to be a Europe-only vehicle. None for North America and none for China. But a new report by InsideEVs claims the runaway success of the diminutive Wuling Hong Guang — which is now the best selling electric car in China by a wide margin — has caused the powers that be in Wolfsburg to rethink their priorities.
The report says a base version of the ID.3 will be manufactured at the SAIC factory in Anting with a 45 kWh battery. Apparently, Volkswagen is to make that official soon and begin selling the ID.3 in China later this year. This is not an April Fool’s Day joke. Pricing has not be made public, but that version of the ID.3 in Germany costs $25,900 after available incentives. Many Chinese customers apparently are not as concerned with range as they are low price. (The base Wuling Hong Guang has a tiny 9.2 kWh battery but sells for only $4,400 before incentives!)
Volkswagen apparently sees a market opportunity for a lower priced, shorter range car in China. Thanks to the flexibility of the MEB platform, it can adjust quickly to changes in the marketplace, which means it could, one day in the far distant future, offer the ID.3 in North America. Just don’t hold your breath.