Renault Gets Permission to Call Their Car Zoe

Parents of two children named Zoe Renault had filed a lawsuit against the French car manufacturer, arguing that if Renault would call its new electric car Zoe, they could end up being bullied and teased all their life. The families, who are not related to the car company, wanted Renault to choose another name for the model.

"There's a line between living things and inanimate objects, and that line is defined by the first name," lawyer David Koubbi told The Associated Press in an interview. "We're telling Renault one very simple thing: First names are for humans."

Despite the lawyer's plea, the judge ruled that the parents would only have a case if they could prove that naming the car "Zoe" would cause the children "certain, direct and current harm."

Koubbi said he would appeal the decision. He insisted that all of France's 35,000 Zoes would feel the sting when the car is released, probably in 2012.

Renault has given female first names to its models before the lawsuit – Megane, Clio - but there was no organized opposition to either name. In June, Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said he was aware of the issue and wanted to avoid any controversy that could cripple the car's sales.

"We don't want our car to come on the market with a name which is a handicap," he told Europe-1 radio.

Still, a Renault official emphasized that the name will probably be used for the new electric range after all.

"We ordered several studies that showed that it's not a handicap for the car, so there's no reason to make any changes," said the official, who declined to give his name in accordance with company policy. "We're very happy with the judge's decision."
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