Mumbai, Feb 2 (IANS) Automobile major Tata Motors on Tuesday announced that it has decided to rename its soon-to-be launched hatchback Zica, the name of which was derived from “Zippy Car”, but is similar to the “Zika” virus that has assumed epidemic proportions in South America.
“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,” the company said in a statement here.
The automobile manufacturer elaborated that 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.”
The new car will be showcased publicly for the first time at the upcoming Auto Expo 2016, in Greater Noida February 3-9.
“While it will carry the ‘Zica’ label for the duration of the event (Auto Expo), 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,” the statement added.
The Zika virus, native to parts of Africa and Asia, has for the first time been introduced into the Americas where it is spreading locally among people who have not travelled abroad.
There is currently no vaccine against the virus or antiviral treatment.
Zika is generally a mild illness, spread by a day-biting mosquito. However, there is a worrisome, but as of yet unproven, association of infected mothers in Brazil giving birth to babies with small heads and underdeveloped brains, said a research letter published in leading British medical journal The Lancet.
There has been a 20-fold increase in the number of babies born with this condition, known as microcephaly, since Zika first appeared in Brazil in May 2015, researchers said.
More than 22 countries in the Americas have reported the sporadic Zika virus infections, indicating its rapid geographic expansion.