Don’t name new Renault after me says Zoe

Those car companies who name cars, as opposed to just giving them numbers, make a rod for their own back and Renault is currently being whacked with one by 23-year old Parisian Zoe Renault and numerous other French Zoes who don’t want people making car-related jokes at their expense.

Zoe is the provisional name for Renault’s new ZE (‘zero emission’) electric car due in 2012.

“I could not bear to hear ‘Zoe’s broken down’ or ‘we need to get Zoe overhauled,’ ” Ms Renault (who doesn’t own the company) told Le Parisien newspaper. Other Zoes concur and have instructed lawyer David Koubbi who specialises in these matters to remonstrate with Renault. Zoe is now the sixth most popular girl’s name in France.

Renault’s French rival Citroen switched to numbering cars a decade or so ago and German marques BMW and Mercedes number theirs of course, although Mercedes still chucks in baffling letter combinations such as CSL, CSK and ML.

Ford in Europe used to try to find resorts or Mediterranean island although gave up on this after Capri and Cortina, turning to Mondeo to mean world car. Toyota and most far Eastern manufacturers still play the name game although the names get odder, Aygo anyone?

Renault says that Zoe is just the name of the concept car so it might change its mind for the launch proper.

It would be much easier just to call it the Renault 700 or something.

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