WASHINGTON — The U.S. Securities and Change Fee has opened an inquiry into the U.S. unit of Volkswagen’s AG over a advertising stunt wherein it falsely mentioned it was altering its title in america to “Voltswagen,” an individual briefed on the matter confirmed.

Der Spiegel first reported the inquiry and the SEC’s request for details about the difficulty made in early April, and quoted VW as confirming the investigation.

Volkswagen declined to touch upon the matter to Reuters. The SEC didn’t reply to a request for remark.

The corporate in March apologized after a false assertion it issued a couple of phony title change, a stunt that was extensively slammed on social media. The falsehood sparked explicit outrage coming from an organization that has been working to rebuild public belief after its diesel emissions dishonest scandal.

The stunt, which got here a few days earlier than April Idiot’s Day on the primary of the month, a day when firms typically launch prank statements, was meant to name consideration to its electrical automobile efforts, the carmaker mentioned.

A supposedly assertion outlining the title change was reported by Reuters and different retailers globally. It included an in depth description of VW’s purported rebranding efforts and new logos. Earlier than working with the story, information retailers requested Volkswagen if the title change was true, they had been assured it was, and the following day VW issued a press launch and social media stories outlining the title change, even quoting VW of America CEO Scott Keogh to that impact.

A minimum of one analyst wrote a analysis notice praising the title change. VW’s most popular shares, frequent shares and ADRs rose on the day of the phony title announcement.

Keogh then advised Reuters in an April 1 interview that the phony title announcement was a “gag” and an try to “have some humor” and “to have fun our profound deal with electrification.”

Volkswagen in 2015 admitted to utilizing unlawful software program to rig diesel engine exams in america, sparking Germany’s largest company disaster and costing the carmaker greater than 32 billion euros in fines, refits and authorized prices.