A car manufacturer has changed the name of one of its models out of respect for those affected by the deadly Zika virus.
Indian car manufacturer and owner of Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors, chose the name ‘Zica’ for its latest hatchback because it’s a contraction of the words ‘zippy’ and ‘car’.
In the months since the Zica car was named, the Zika virus has been found originating in 33 countries and its outbreak has been declared an international health emergency by the World-Health Organisation (WHO).
A Tata Motors statement said: “Empathizing 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 Tata Zica is currently on display at the New Dehli motor show in India under its controversial model name, but it said the name will be changed in a matter of weeks.
The Zika virus has been linked to a rare birth defect known as microcephaly that can give babies brain damage and an abnormally small head. It is usually spread by mosquito bites, but there have been reports of transmission through saliva, sex and blood transfusions.
It has become such an issue that pregnant women have been urged not to kiss strangers during Brazil’s carnival as part of an attempt to help stop it from spreading. Meanwhile men have been told to only have protected sex or avoid it altogether during their partner’s pregnancy.
More than 3,100 pregnant women are said to have contracted the Zika virus ─ which has no treatment or vaccine ─ in Colombia. A total of 25,645 people are said to be infected in the area.
This is by no means the first instance of a car manufacturer giving a car an unfortunate name, although in Tata’s defence it was simply a case of bad timing and not ignorance.