Tata Motors to rename Zica hatch

The international outbreak of the Zika virus, which can cause birth defects, will force Tata Motors to rename its new Zica hatchback. The model’s name is nearly identical to that of the disease, and no automaker wants a product to have an association with an illness that seems to harm children.

“Empathizing with the hardships being caused by the recent ‘Zika’ virus outbreak across many countries, TataMotors, as a socially responsible company, has decided to re-brand the car,” the company said in a statement.

The Zica, short for Zippy Car, will still make its public debut at the Auto Expo 2016 in New Delhi, and the company will use the original name at the show. However, Tata will change the branding in a few weeks. The new name has yet to be announced.

“Empathising with the hardships being caused by the recent “Zika” virus outbreak across many countries, Tata Motors, as a socially responsible company, has decided to rebrand the car,” Tata Motors said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Tata Motors is committed to doing what is right for its customers; the car, which has been designed for young people, has already received enthusiastic reviews from informed commentators, and the company is determined to place it in the market addressing all relevant needs of the target audience,” the statement added.

The new car will be displayed publicly for the first time at the Auto Expo 2016, in New Delhi (Greater Noida) from February 3-9.

While it carries the ‘Zica’ label for the duration of the event, the new name will be announced after a few weeks, ensuring all necessary consumer/ branding and regulatory aspects are addressed.

The car will be introduced in the market after the rebranding.

Although it has little to do with the Zica/Zika situation, recall that Tata is most notable outside of Southeast Asia as the parent company of Jaguar Land Rover.

“This car is a complete statement on the organisational change at Tata Motors. It is a completely new product with a contemporary expressive design, and we have ensured the car will look fresh after being used for a few years,” Girish Wagh, Senior Vice-President (Programme Planning and Project Management – PVBU), Tata Motors recently told The Hindu.

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