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

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DETROIT (AP) — 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.

Spokesman Mark Gillies confirmed Tuesday that the statement was a pre-April Fool’s Day joke, after saying Monday that the release was legitimate and the name change was accurate.

The 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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