From time to time, automakers quibble over the rights to use a particular name on a vehicle.
Like the short-lived dispute between Volkswagen and Nissan over the letter Q. Nissan got snitty last fall because VW's Audi division named its SUV the Q7 after Nissan apparently had called dibs on Q. After all, Nissan had used Q for a decade and a half on some of its Infiniti luxury models.
Fortunately, that row was settled amicably just before Christmas, with Audi getting to use its own Q.
Sometimes automakers squabble over model names with manufacturers of other products, though they don't usually mix it up with the families of dead artists.
But that's what happened when the heirs of Pablo Picasso went to the European Court of Justice trying to block DaimlerChrysler from using the name "Picaro" on a Mercedes-Benz car. "Picaro," they protested, sounds too much like "Picasso."
I seem to remember learning that some artists, such as El Greco, had unique painting styles because of eye conditions that altered the way they saw things. (That would explain some of Picasso's work, too, wouldn't it?)
But if his kin think "Picaro'' sounds like "Picasso," they probably have an issue with their hearing, too.
It's not as if the artist's family is opposed to commercialism.
The issue is that they've already licensed the name to Peugeot. The French automaker is using the moniker "Xsara Picasso" for a Citroen minivan.
Luckily, the court tossed out the complaint.
But it made me wonder. These days, what would Picasso drive? A minivan? And what color would it be?
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at [email protected]