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Tata to rename Zica as virus spreads

India’s biggest automaker Tata Motors said on Tuesday that it has decided to rename its soon-to-be launched hatchback Zica as concern grows globally over the outbreak of the identical sounding name Zika virus.

“The car’s acronym was “ZICA”, derived from “Zippy Car”. 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 re-brand the car”, stated a note from the Mumbai-based company.

Launch of the Zica coincides with the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which originated in the forests of Uganda, spread rapidly through Latin America last year. The deadly virus is held responsible for surge in brain-damaged babies.

The Zica, which was unveiled to the media in December, was set to be showcased to the general public at the Auto Expo in Greater Noida later this week. While the company has decided to allow the car to carry on with its present name a new name will be announced in due course.

Incidently, Zica’s brand ambassador and ace footballer Lionel Messi hails from the south American country of Argentina where the first case of Zika affected person was reported a few days ago.

The new car is backed by Tata Motors’ “Made of Great” campaign, with the motto, “What drives us from within is what makes us great”. 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, further stated the company.

“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, and the launch will take place thereafter,” added the statement. The Zica is the first new product from Tata Motors this calendar year and will compete against Hyundai i10, Maruti Celerio to name a few.

The company plans soon launch a compact sedan based on the Zica platform.

The World Health Organization has said Zika is "spreading explosively" and could infect as many as 4 million people in the Americas.