New Tata Motors car to get renamed over similarity to Zika virus

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |   Feb. 2, 2016 at 8:40 AM
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NEW DELHI, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- India's Tata Motors delayed the rollout of its new hatchback, named the Zica, in order to find another name for it that won't be confused with the Zika virus.

The Zica will be displayed at the Delhi Car Show beginning Wednesday under its present name, but a new name will be announced "in a few weeks," the company reported.

The name is meant to imply "zippy car."

Referring to itself as "a socially responsible company," Tata will rebrand the car to discourage confusion with the Zika virus, an epidemic now found in 24 countries which the World Health Organization said Monday posed an international health emergency. Transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, the virus is possibly linked to microcephaly, causing underdeveloped brains in newborns. India, home of 1.3 billion people and Tata's home market, is susceptible to mosquito-borne diseases.

Business history has a number of examples of marketing errors prompted by world events, most recently of name changes to companies and products worldwide using the word "Isis," originally the name of an Egyptian, then Greco-Roman, goddess, to avoid customer connection with the Islamic State. Occasionally it is a matter of translation, the most notorious the introduction of the Chevrolet Nova to Latin America without changing its name. "No va," in Spanish, means "It doesn't go."

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