"NOVA" is the name of the leaded grade of gasoline (now rare) sold by PEMEX, the government-run gasoline company in Mexico. So apparently, at least in Mexico, the word "Nova" doesn't have negative connotations, at least when used by itself.
In a rather interesting form of colloquial Spanish spoken in Argentina, the verb "colgar" (to hang) is conjugated in an interesting manner. When you want to tell someone to go hang themself, you would say, "Colgate". Interestingly, Colgate is one of the more popular brands of toothpaste in Argentina as well.
I know there are times when my children would've preferred hanging themselves over the painful process of brushing their teeth.
It seems as thought that may have been an urban legend that was not true. While no va does indeed mean Doesn't go in Spanish, GM was well aware of that and never actually changed the name. It sold quite well.
Yeah I heard that the Chevy Nova was a non-starter south of the border! If I remember correctly, the old RCA logo was a dog; this did not travel well to India as dogs were considered unclean. I think that they switched their logo to a snake for that market. It pays to understand the culture.
Bimbo's name doesn't seem to have hurt its U.S. sales much -- unlike a much more infamous case of a brand that didn't travel well in the other direction, from the U.S. to Mexico. I'm referring to the blunder Chevrolet made decades ago when it sold the Chevy Nova in Mexico without re-branding the car with a new name. "no va" in Spanish means "doesn't go" :)
Bimbo recently purchased Sara Lee's bakery business as well as rights to use the Sara Lee brand, the latter probably for the benefit of us 'gringos'!
The Sara Lee company itself is down to a US meat business and an international coffee unit, and the firm will be splitting into two. (Source: Crain's Chicago Business)