Yesterday, November 9, ONEXIM group owned by Russia’s wealthiest man Mikhail Prokhorov, unveiled a new Russian car brand «ё». The producer pledges to present the world’s cheapest hybrids that will be priced at $10,000, not to mention they will become the first hybrid cars to be manufactured in Russia.
Given the fact, «ё» is the letter that only exists in the Russian alphabet, brand owners picked it for a brand name to outline the authentic Russian essence of the future cars. In addition to this, «ё» is the seventh letter in Russian ABC. This numeral is usually associated with good luck.
However, the brand managers obviously seemed to forget that in the informal Russian language it is frequently used as an exclamation to express surprise with regard to some bad or unexpected news. And, as far as worldwide distribution of the cars is concerned, since the brand name is transcripted in English as [jou], it is likely to be associated with YO! exclamation in the minds of native English speakers.
While the naming of the «YO» car brand has already provoked a negative response from the Russian bloggers, some international brand experts see this situation differently with the main focus on eco-friendly aspect:
“In recent times many car brands have simply added the word ‘Hybrid’ to their logo mark and it has created a sense of ‘clutter’ around the car badge, others have used a leaf on a road to get the message across, so its refreshing to see a simpler mark. Much of the success of this work will be in the support communication and on how this will be perceived by the Russian Market who have not traditionally been supportive of the issues surrounding Global Warming” comments Simon Moriarty, Studio Design Director at Fitch.
Meanwhile, another renowned expert—Bertrand Chovet, Managing Director of Interbrand (Paris), argues: «Beyond the «ё» name, which seems from an international standpoint quite clever because of its direct association with electricity and energy, the main risk we see is the distance between the symbol/letter and the name/pronunciation. We can already say that the e brand has strong chance to be assigned to a local role and will face difficulty to be globally understood».
«About the logo, the symbol is very close to the POWEO brand (an alternative French power utility company created in 2002, when the market was unregulated)», he added.
Anyway, ONEXIM group is pretty optimistic about the future of the brand and encourages Russian audience to actively play around with the brand name and come up with more new informal names for the hybrid.
The brand will reveil its first concepts of a family hatchback as well as 3-door crossover in December 2010. Mass production is scheduled to start in 2011-2012.
«Without a doubt, Ё will appeal to everybody because it’s cool. We thoroughly realize we will receive a great amount of feedback and irony, but that’s what we’re looking forward. So, don’t be afraid and share your ё-emotions и ё-experience!», wrote Mikhail Prokhorov in his private blog.