13 Mar 2013

Kia probably won't sell it's new provo in Northern Ireland

Matt Hubbard wonders if Kia really thought it through when they decided to name their 'funky' new concept car the 'provo'

I didn't notice the new Kia concept car when it was announced during media week for the Geneva Motor Show.  It was buried under a pile of supercars from Lambourghini, Ferrari and McLaren.

And, frankly, I've no interest in Kia or their cars.  If they send me one to drive I'll give it a quick spin, confirm that it is probably 'OK', and then it will live outside in the rain for a week.

But I spat tea all over my laptop keyboard when I saw the South Korean manufacturer had called their "fun-focussed" and "sleek, low, yet muscular coupe-style hatchback" the PROVO.  And the headline for the press release - KIA LOOKS TO SET THE STREETS ALIGHT WITH RADICAL PROVO CONCEPT

It couldn't be more inappropriate if they'd adorned it with mortar launchers and Kia's management had worn black balaclavas whilst presenting it to the gathered journalists in Geneva.
Why, you might ask?  Because provo is a shortening of Provisional Irish Republican Army who, for 30 years, waged war against the British, who then ruled Northern Ireland.  And they bombed two of my local shopping centres, in the north of England, when I was young - the Manchester Arndale and Warrington town centre.  I distinctly remember the fear we all felt when venturing into populated areas and town centres during those times.

In their defence Kia say, "There was absolutely no intention to cause offence. The name comes from 'provoke' – as in provoking a reaction."

And I believe them.  No manufacturer would be so daft or insane as to name a car so blatantly offensive on purpose.  It's all just an unfortunate coincidence.  

But Kia won't mind if I knock up a concept car and take it to the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.  I think I might call it the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea featuring Kim Jong-un concept".  The headline will read, "New concept aims to test it's firepower in an underground bunker in Punggye-ri"