Tata Motors mulls changing name of Zica car amid Zika virus scare

Tata Motors is due to launch a small car in India whose name sounds like a fast-spreading virus, forcing the automaker to consider changing the vehicle's name.

The Indian company will unveil the hatchback - for now called Zica - at the Auto Expo set to begin near Delhi this week.

The Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitos and has appeared in more than 21 countries in the Americas and Europe. The virus is thought to cause birth malformations through mother-to-child transmission.

Tata Motors, which owns the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, named Zica months ago, using the first two letters of the words zippy and car, Tata Motors spokeswoman Minari Shah said.

"We picked the name when there was no such issue and had even showcased it to the media in December. But now, we are evaluating the situation and will make a decision on whether or not to change the name," she told dpa from Mumbai.

"The car will appear with the same name in the Auto Expo since we cannot possibly change the name in such a short duration," she said.

WHO officials said there may have been 1.5 million Zika virus cases in Brazil, where the outbreak started last year, and that the number of cases in the Americas could grow to 4 million within 12 months.

Last update: Mon, 01/02/2016 - 12:53

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