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Friday, 21 May 2010

French automaker Renault faces opposition over new car name

Spare a thought for Zoé Renault.

The Parisian could be in for quite a ribbing if the French car manufacturer Renault (no relation apparently) goes ahead with rumoured plans to name its new electric zero emission car "Zoé".

She fears being the butt of many a cruel joke, and in an interview with the national daily Le Parisien-Aujourd'hui en France the 23-year-old student said she couldn't bear to hear constant referrals to "Zoé has broken down" or "Zoé needs to go in for a service" should the car manufacturer decide that's the name for the vehicle due be launched in 2012.

Renault (Zoé that is) has hired David Koubbi, a lawyer who, the BBC says "specialises in the protection of first names" and he has already sent a letter to the car giant's CEO Carlos Ghosn urging him and others to think again.

And in his letter Koubbi takes up the cause not just of the 23-year-old but also all the other Zoés throughout France - a growing number apparently as there are already more than 30,000 and it figured among the most popular girls names in 2009.

"My clients strongly oppose the intention of your company to use the name Zoé for a car," the letter says in an extract published in the newspaper.

"They see this as an infringement of their personal rights," it continues.

"You'll certainly understand that parents have carefully considered the name they give their child and it's intolerable to see it trivialised and exploited for purely commercial and marketing purposes."

For its part Renault seems to be taking the issue seriously with a spokesperson telling the newspaper that the name was only one given to a concept car and there had been no decision taken as to what it would be called.

"We completely understand the reaction of this young woman," the car manufacturer told the newspaper.

"At the moment it's a name given just to a concept car and one which was chosen because it sounded good, is short, dynamic and easy to use for sales abroad and just as importantly contains the letters 'Z' and 'E' for 'Zero Emissions'."

Not necessarily an explanation with which the 23-year-old is in happy.

"In Greek 'Zoé' means 'life'," she told the newspaper.

"And it's a name my parents gave me when I was born because they wanted me have one that was different from other girls and it was also a symbol because my father was ill at the time," she continued.

"I don't want my identity to be associated with a car for my whole life. It would be unbearable."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the best read that I read this month...


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