Business Briefing

VW’s ‘Voltswagen’ rebrand ‘was early April Fool’s joke’

Deliveroo shares slump on debut, shoppers return to supermarkets, and other breaking business news

1

Automotive

VW: from Dieselgate to fake news row

Electric car owners gearing up to drive their “Voltswagen” are facing disappointment, after Volkswagen (VW) announced that the reported rebrand was just a misfired attempt at an April Fool’s Day joke. 

The German car giant “accidentally” leaked a press release on Monday announcing that “we might be changing out our K for a T” in the US, in order to highlight the company’s “future-forward investment in e-mobility”, says The Verge

The deliberate release of fake news is “highly unusual for a major public company”, says The Guardian, which notes that the prank coincides with a push to repair the carmaker’s image following the 2015 “Dieselgate” emissions scandal.

The carmaker is expected to put out an official press release to clear up the rebrand issue. 

2

Markets 

Deliveroo fails to deliver on London stock market debut 

Shares in food delivery company Deliveroo plummeted by 30% on its stock market debut. The initial public offering (IPO), London’s “biggest in a decade”, saw more than £2bn wiped off Deliveroo’s value within minutes, Sky News reports.

After initially hoping for a price of up to 460p, shares were offered to investors at 390p each. However, the price dived in early London trading to 275p at one stage. The BBC says that a number of major UK investors “expressed concerns about its gig economy worker model”.

3

Economy 

Climate change could cost global economy $1.7trn a year by 2025

Experts have warned that the global economic damage caused by climate change could reach $1.7trn (£1.24trn) a year by 2025. According to a survey of 738 economists by New York University’s Institute for Policy Integrity, it’s estimated that the figure could hit $30trn (£21.7trn) a year by 2075 unless “drastic action” is taken.

To avoid “catastrophic climate change”, scientists say the world needs to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, Sky News reports. The impact of climate change would “deepen income inequality between rich and poor countries” and the most severe impact will be felt in developing nations. 

4

Automotive 

Volvo Cars staff to get option of 24 weeks’ parental leave

Swedish carmaker Volvo will offer 24 weeks’ parental leave to all 40,000 global employees after announcing a change in its policy from 1 April. Volvo Cars’s “latest export” will support female executives and equal parenting, Reuters reports, and the “generous” scheme sees the company’s Swedish family values go global, the BBC says. 

The “Family Bond” policy will give all Volvo Cars employees with at least one year’s service a total of 24 weeks of leave at 80% of their base pay by default. The policy applies to either parent and the leave can be taken anytime within the three first years of parenthood.

5

Retail

Over-65s lead return to supermarket shopping 

Shoppers are returning to supermarkets and it’s the over-65s that are leading the way. According to data published by market research firm Kantar, there were 13m more supermarket trips in recent weeks compared to the previous month.

With consumer confidence growing for shopping in physical stores, the trend was greatest among the “largely-vaccinated” generation of older shoppers, Sky News reports. This coincided with a slower growth of online sales.

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