Indian automaker Tata Motors could rename its latest small car because of a global health threat.
Heavily marketed locally, the Zica, short for “zippy car”, sounds like the a mosquito-borne virus linked to a rare birth defect that gives babies abnormally small heads.
The large Zika outbreak was linked to thousands of cases of microcephaly, mostly in Brazil, and has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization, a classification only used on three previous incidents that included the Ebola and a resurgence of polio in 2014 and the H1N1 pandemic in 2009.
“In view of the recent developments, we are now evaluating the situation. We do not currently have a timeframe about when we will announce the decision“, head of corporate communications Minari Shah told TheGuardian in an e-mail.
Shah added that the car’s name was chosen last year “when we could not have foreseen any of the recent events“.
Zica’s likely rebranding comes only a few months after the carmaker launched a big marketing campaign with adverts featuring Barcelona’s star Lionel Messi, who is Tata’s global ambassador.