Giving a car a name should be pretty easy. You just think of a cool word that hasn’t been claimed by a rival and Bob’s your dad’s brother. However there are times when a manufacturer inadvertently gets its all wrong, like Kia has with its Provo concept car.
The Korean car maker, which recently unveiled this rather fetching hybrid hatchback concept at the Geneva Motor Show, was surprised to hear the ‘Provo’ model name was causing quite a stir with MPs Gregory Campbell and William McCrea, both of whom said the name was highly offensive and should be changed.
The MPs explained: “This name has caused deep offence given that the Provisional IRA were known as Provos when they were murdering and bombing in Northern Ireland, the rest of the UK, as well as in Germany, where the name is supposed to have been chosen.”
Kia was completely unaware of the offence it had caused (so were we until the MPs spoke up), but has reacted quickly to address the issue. It claims the name Provo came from the word ‘Prova’, which means ‘try’ in Italian. Considering the car was designed by an Italian, we can understand the mistake.
“We regret any unnecessary offence that might have been caused by the name. It was supposed to denote performance, emotion and fun,” a spokesperson for Kia told the Telegraph.
It’s obvious Kia made an honest mistake, but at least its blunder was slightly more subtle than others. Mazda’s LaPuta (the whore) is not a car easily explained to a Spaniard and neither is the Mitsubishi Pajero, as both mean “wanker”. Even the Buick LaCrosse, which sounds completely inconspicuous, means the act of tricking someone… or teenage masturbation, at least it does if you’re from Quebec.
The Honda Jazz, aka the Honda Fit in the US got a lucky escape. The car was set to be known as the Fitta in Norway, but Honda discovered it was a vulgar slang word for women’s genitalia (the one beginning with the letter c and ending with the last three letters of the word *unt).
Kia has made it clear it will not use the name – even if the Provo ever reaches production.