Tata Motors forced to rebrand latest car because of Zika virus

Tata Motors forced to rebrand due to Zika virus

The rapidly spreading Zika virus has not only become an international public health threat, it has also foxed one India's largest automakers.

Tata Motors announced Tuesday it would rename its new hatchback model "ZICA" to empathize with those who have suffered from the mosquito-borne virus.

Tata Motors, which had introduced the car earlier this month said its name was derived from "Zippy Car." No less than international football superstar Lionel Messi has promoted the car in advertisements.

A man walks away from his home with his son as health workers fumigate the Altos del Cerro neighborhood as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in Soyapango, El Salvador January 21, 2016.
Here’s what you need to know about Zika virus

"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," Tata Motors said in a statement.

Call it a branding oversight or just a bad coincidence, ZICA sounds exactly the same as the Zika virus which is actively spreading in at least 28 countries, according to the Centers for Disease.

Alarm over the virus is mostly because it is believed to be linked to microcephaly, a birth defect which causes babies to be born with a shrunken head and brain. Over 1.5 million people have been infected in Brazil alone, reported Reuters.

The World Health Organization had also declared the Zika virus as an international public health threat on Monday.

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