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Are You Driving Lady Gaga? Or Maybe the Jack o’ Lantern of Love?

New study finds most Brits name their cars. So do plenty of Americans.

by on Dec.23, 2011

Have you had a Tow-Mater in your garage? Or perhaps a Jack o' Lantern of Love?

My first car was named Smedley, a less than creative concoction for a beat-up old Chevy that carried a New Jersey license plate beginning with “SMD.”  Actually, the ’64 Bel Air had a lot of names we won’t use here, most created on the spot when it wouldn’t start, which was quite often.

Most of my friends have also given names to their cars.  There’s something about personalizing the relationship with something you spend so much time with.  A friend, having loaded up his new chariot with every possible mobile electronic device, settled on the somewhat disturbing “Hal,” and routinely would hit the voice-control button, asking to “Open the pod bay doors, Hal.”  Sadly, the usual response is, “Command not recognized,” though it occasionally results in the system changing the satellite radio channel.

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Americans, it seems, aren’t the only ones in the habit of naming inanimate (okay, semi-animate) machines.  A new survey by the British parking lot operator NCP found that at least half of all English motorists personalize their vehicle with a friendly moniker.

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Renault Sued For Naming New Car Zoe

“First names are for humans,” argues lawyer for two young girls named Zoe Renault.

by on Nov.11, 2010

It's probably a nice name - unless your name is Zoe Renault.

It can be tough to be given the wrong name.  But what’s the problem with being named Zoe?  Nothing – at least not until a French automaker decided to use that name for one of its new models.

Now, Renault is facing a legal challenge filed on behalf of two young girls who just happened to be named Zoe Renault.

“First names are for humans,” attorney David Koubbi told the Associated Press, explaining why he has gone to court to block the automaker from launching its new electric car, the Renault Zoe.

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(The fact that Koubbi’s own daughter is name Zoe convinced him to take the case on pro bono, the AP reports.)

While a French court this week rejected Koubbi’s claim, he plans to appeal. 

“Can an industrialist swoop in steal our names so as to sell his products?” Koubbi added, explaining his case for the two girls, aged 2 and 8 – never mind the 35,000 other French women that bear that name.

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