In the relatively lengthy press release that Kia composed for the launch of its Provo concept car at the Geneva Motor Show this week, the company never mentioned where the name came from, or what it means for the car. A very basic web search for "Provo" reveals that the inspiration for the hatch could have been a city in Utah, a township in South Dakota or a village in Bosnia. The name could be a reference to either an American (Fred) or Canadian (Dwayne) football player, and Provo might also accurately reference a "Dutch counterculture movement in the mid-1960s" or a ship in the US Navy. More likely than any of those, however, is that the Kia designers of the concept – a car that was wholly a product of the Korean automaker's design studios in Frankfurt, for the record – meant it as a play on the existing Pro_cee'd hatchback.

What the designers and Kia executives that signed off on the Provo almost certainly did not have in mind was a reference to a street name for the Provisional Irish Republican Army. That "Provo" was, according to TheDetroitBureau.com, an outlawed army faction that was blamed for some 2,000 deaths in Northern Ireland during a period stretching from 1970 to 1997.

And yet, it was that association that led Gregory Campbell, a member of parliament from Northern Ireland, to introduce legislation that would ban Kia from selling a car under the name Provo. Kia, quick to realize the sizable gaffe it has stumbled into with the name, has reportedly already promised not to use the name for a production vehicle.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 62 Comments
      to your email L
      • 2 Years Ago
      Provo? I thought it was for the Utah town and Donnie and Marie would be in the promotions for it
      Gordon Chen
      • 2 Years Ago
      That\'s just silly. A car should be able to name a car \"third reich\" if it choose to, but at their own risk of not selling them. This is also similar to the story of \"Siri\", which means different (and sometimes embarassing) things in other languages. It\'s up to the localization team to understand this and rename, if necessary. That\'s why the Honda Fit is also called Honda Jazz depending on where you are.
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Making a mountain out of a molehill?
      Walt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Give me a break. Who thinks up all this $hit?
      scificarolinaguy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Kudos to Kia for being sensitive to the feelings of Irishmen. I am sure it was such an obscure reference that Kia would not have known about it.
      John Thayer
      • 2 Years Ago
      So what name is safe?
        shanemerrion
        • 2 Years Ago
        @John Thayer
        Just use common sense,you wouldn't drive around south central Los Angelese with KKK and a burning cross on you car,or around ground zero in New York with Al Qaeda on it,or around Columbine with Trenchcoat Mafia on it etc... In Northern Ireland they have enough problems to deal with without people from either communities using this to cause further trouble.
          Drakkon
          • 2 Years Ago
          @shanemerrion
          But then you may have a Porsche with a turbo named KKK. What then?
      brokedogleg
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lot of stupidity in the world these days.
      ninjustin
      • 2 Years Ago
      Who cares about the name. Give me one. It looks like a futuristic GTA mafia car.
      vegasstyleguy
      • 2 Years Ago
      I had happy thoughts of skiing and pretty white people in lovely puffa jackets. NOW, I can only see Mountbatten limbs and Austin Marina's laying in pieces across bloody Irish lanes. My mellow has seriously been harshed.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      For God's sake you people who are officially perpetually offended, shut the hell up already.
        gearhead
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        You will only be offended by something as trivial as this if you are looking for things to offend you. Stop b*tching about everything needing to be so PC and just enjoy something for a change for Fs sake people.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @gearhead
          \'for fs sake\'... :D
      rmt_1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Gregory Campbell, a member of parliament from Northern Ireland, is proof that politicians everywhere can be conceited narcissists who believes the world revolves around them and their small street corner on the Earth. Does he honestly believe that Hyundai/Kia, a company that has a history of naming concepts and cars after American cities, would make a mental connection between their Provo Concept Car and the Provisional Irish Republican Army? I think if this South Korean company was going to think about terrorism, they would be far more concerned with the terrorist with nuclear bombs running North Korea and its one million man army. Unless Mr. Campbell goes to bed every night dreading the possibility of North Korean invading Northern Ireland, he should take his meds, keep his crazy thoughts to himself, and hopefully those voices in his head will go away, if he stays on his dosing schedule.
      JD444
      • 2 Years Ago
      I thought only Muslims were terrorists?
        Adam
        • 2 Years Ago
        @JD444
        so all the school shootings, bombings or other mass senseless murders NOT committed by religious zealots are NOT acts of terrorism?
          JD444
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Adam
          geez, i guess i forgot to put in /sarcasm. you people are stoopid.
          SpikeFiend
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Adam
          Nope, if you're white, it's a mental illness and you're a victim of society. If you're ethnic, *then* you're a terrorist.
    • Load More Comments