Tata Motors to rebrand new car Zica as Zika virus raises concern

Tata Motors Ltd. said Tuesday it would rename its new Zica hatchback, to avoid association with Zika virus which the World Health Organisation has described as an international public health emergency.

Tata Motors has in recent weeks been heavily promoting the small car aimed at young people , with a marketing campaign starring Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi. The company has also announced plans to roll out a Virtual Test Drive App (for experience), the Zica signature fragrance, the Zica anthem, The Zica Chocolate, as part of the Zica ‘7 Senses’ campaign. Sadly, all the great ideas will have to be jettisoned, as mosquito-borne Zika virus is spreading in Latin America and the Carribean, and has been linked to thousands of birth defects in Brazil.

“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,” the company said in a statement.

While the car will retain its name as it goes on public show at India’s Auto Expo 2016 which opens this week in New Delhi, the new name will be announced in a few weeks, “ensuring all necessary consumer/branding and regulatory aspects are addressed, and the launch will take place thereafter,” the statement said.

Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes which usually bite during the morning and evening hours. The virus has been linked to thousands of birth defects in Brazil.