My name is Berlingo, Citroen Berlingo

When Renault chose the new moniker for its latest model I bet the bosses didn’t expect to be taken to court, but they were.

So, what would you suppose could cause this uproar?  It must have been something blasphemous or perhaps so politically incorrect it could not go unchallenged. Did Renault call their car … All the permutations of WRONG names for a car are flashing through my mind, but I cannot bring myself to type them.

No, Renault called their car…Wait for it…Zoe.

However, no sooner had the seemingly innocuous name Renault Zoe been whispered on the car production line than two French families were heading for the civil courts as they argued that their daughters, aptly named Zoe Renault, would be perpetually mocked and harassed as a result of the car maker’s action.

Apparently, the French take first names very seriously.  In the past parents had to pick names from an approved list, but although they are now at liberty to choose any name of their choice for a child, officials can make it difficult for an unusual name to be attached to a baby if they feel it will cause the child to be harmed by ridicule or teasing.

But, in the case of the parents versus Renault, it was the motor manufacturer who won.  The judge ruled that he could find no evidence it would cause the children “certain, direct and current harm”.

The families’ solicitor argued, however, that thousands of Zoes, all over the country, would be prone to teasing and certain taunts He suggested phrases such as "Can I see your airbags?" or "Can I shine your bumper?" would be used as any girl named Zoe gets older.

Personally, I think that if this is the case, a clever girl could turn these comments on their head.

The Renault Zoe ZE (zero emission) is an all-electric car, so how about a retort of, “Don’t worry mate, my batteries don’t need charging today.” Or maybe, “No thanks, I don’t need lead in my petrol!”

The Renault Zoe – welcome to the motoring world.

Image © DoubleM2 via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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