INDIAN carmaker Tata Motors is to rebrand its forthcoming Zica hatchback after the similarly-named Zika virus sparked a global health emergency.
Tata Motors said that “as a socially responsible company”, it had decided to rebrand the vehicle.
The car will go on show at a motor show in Delhi on Wednesday under its old name, but Tata will announce a new name “after a few weeks”.
Tata came up with Zica by combining Zippy Car.
The Zika virus has now reached more than 20 countries and territories.
The World Health Organisation declared on Monday that it posed an international health emergency requiring a united response.
The infection has been linked to cases of microcephaly, in which babies are born with underdeveloped brains.
Currently, there is no vaccine or medication to stop Zika. The only way to avoid catching it is to avoid getting bitten by the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit the infection.
The Tata Group is one of India’s largest and best-known conglomerates. Its more than 100 companies include Tata Motors, owner of the Jaguar-Land Rover brand; Tata Steel; Tata Consultancy Services; Tata Beverages, the maker of Tetley brand tea; and holdings in insurance, investment and telecommunications.
Until now, Tata Motors has been best known for its budget Nano cars. The new Zica car, promoted with an advertising campaign starring Argentine footballer Lionel Messi, was seen as Tata’s attempt to take its brand upmarket.