Kia apologise for any offence over ‘Provo’ name

Kia Provo Concept Car (Copyright Kia)
Kia Provo Concept Car (Copyright Kia)

Korean car maker Kia has now said they will not launch a car in the United Kingdom under the name “Provo” and have apologised for any offence caused.

Unionist MPs said the Kia Provo should be renamed and given a title which is “not associated with terror and mayhem”.

The Democratic Unionist Party’s Gregory Campbell (East Londonderry) and William McCrea (South Antrim) claimed the name had caused “deep offence”.

The Provo concept car was unveiled at the Geneva motor show, with Kia claiming the “sleek, low, yet muscular coupe-style” design was “meant to be cheeky and cheerful in its compactness and to hint at the fun awaiting on the open road”.

But in a Commons motion the MPs said: “This name has caused deep offence given that the Provisional IRA were known as the 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.”

The motion “calls on Kia to reconsider, and bring forward a new name which is not associated with terror and mayhem”.

Last night Mr Campbell welcomed the statement from car manufacturer Kia that they will not launch a car in the United Kingdom under the name “Provo”.

Speaking after the announcement the DUP MP said, “The swift action by Kia is to be welcomed. Obviously a large multi-national company may not be aware of all the connotations surrounding a particular name. However, in such circumstances it is important that they act quickly when they are made aware that the name is actually linked to a terrorist campaign.

“I accept that this was a mistake made by the company and I know that their decisive action will be welcomed by many people, in Northern Ireland and beyond, whose lives have been affected by the murderous actions of the Provisional IRA over a 30 year period.”

A Kia spokesman said the company would not sell a car called Provo in the UK.

He said the firm had written to the DUP MPs about the car and was sorry if any offence was caused.

The spokesman said: “The name came from a merge of provoke - because we wanted to excite motoring enthusiasts with a car designed to deliver fun and performance - with a reference to Italian prova plates to signify a prototype.

“This car is a design concept and no production car is yet planned.

“We will not be selling a car in the UK named Provo, not now, not ever.

“We regret any misunderstanding of a motor show name and we are sorry if anyone was offended - this was a genuine creative naming process and no offence was intended.”