Renault can keep Zoe name for electric cars

Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:42am EST
 
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PARIS (Reuters Life!) - French carmaker Renault said it can keep the name Zoe for its future small electric car after a judge ruled girls called Zoe did not face imminent harm or a threat to their private life or dignity.

Lawyer David Koubbi had brought a case against the carmaker's choice of name on behalf of Zoes and two Zoe Renaults in particular, and said on Wednesday he would appeal, Le Figaro said in an article on its website.

"For my clients, it would be intolerable to hear 'the Zoe has broken down' or indeed 'he or she killed herself in a Zoe'," Koubbi had written in a letter to Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn.

In the letter, which was published on the website of ADNP -- a French association for the defense of given names -- Koubbi said he was already hearing reports from his clients of the teasing girls called Zoe were suffering at school.

Zoe is the 11th most popular given name in France according to L'Officiel des Prenoms -- a list of the most popular names given each year.

The compact Zoe electric car -- whose Z and E stand for Zero Emissions -- is due to go on sale in 2012, part of a big push toward electric vehicles by Renault and its Japanese alliance partner Nissan Motor Co Ltd.

The partners are jointly investing 4 billion euros in electric vehicles.

Nissan's Leaf hatchback is due to arrive in some European markets early next year, while Renault's first two electric models, the Fluence and the Kangoo, go on sale in September.

(Reporting by Helen Massy-Beresford; Editing by Hans Peters)