Dateline: The roadways of France.Long before there was a company famous
for putting personal pronouns in front of its various phones, pods, and
pads, there was Rénault.
And Rénault created a product called "Le Car." A name as simple,
thoughtful, and utilitarian as a definite article can be. Le Car was a
runaway success -- and not it the Toyota sense of the word.
However, in recent years, Rénault hasn't had such luck in its product
nomenclature. For example, it recently lost a court case after objecting
that a set of parents, whose last name is Rénault, named their daughter
Mégane, which also happens to be the name of one of Rénault (the car
And now Rénault (the car company, not the parents) is in trouble again.
This time, it wants to name its new electric car "Zoé," which apparently comes from the Greek work for "life."
This does not sit well with a 23-year-old Parisienne student named Zoé
Renault (who is no relation to the car company, or the parents).
Envisioning a lifetime of sarcastic rejoinders ('Oh, 'Zoé's broken down
again,' or 'Zoé needs an overhaul,' and so on), she's had a lawyer
threaten Rénault (the car company). In short: if it carries on with
naming its electric car, "Zoé," she will seek damages in court.
And now, her idea has caught on: there are apparently at least 30,000
women named Zoé in France, and most of them object to being objectified
in the name of a car too.
All of which has Rénault (the car company, not the woman or the
parents) reversing quickly, claiming that the name was merely a concept,
and that no final decision has been made on what to officially call the
car, which isn't scheduled to come out until 2012.
So what should it be called?
As far as we know, the "iCar" is still available. Although, of course, that might get them une pomme-ling in court, too.