Coming up with a clever name for any new product doubtless takes countless meetings, endless brainstorming sessions, and plenty of heated debate and discussion. Heck, if the branding team is really passionate, coffee may be spilled.
It’s not known how long it took leading Indian car maker Tata to settle on the name of its latest vehicle, but what we do know is all the expended effort was pretty much a waste of time.
You see, when the company unveiled the Zica last November, it of course had no idea that just two months later, Zika – a mosquito-borne virus linked to birth defects – would become a global public health emergency and a massive news story. Nobody had even heard of it then.
The Zica, which takes its name from the first few letters of “zippy” and “car,” is being shown off for the first time at this week’s Auto Expo – Asia’s biggest car show – but its unfortunate association with the virus has prompted Tata to announce it’ll rename the vehicle soon.
A statement released by the automaker said: “Empathizing with the hardships being caused by the Zika virus outbreak across many countries, Tata Motors as a socially-responsible company has decided to re-brand the car.”
Describing the compact sedan as offering “fantastic features to fit your dynamic lifestyle,” Tata last year signed up soccer superstar Lionel Messi to endorse the car. The company, which in 2008 bought top-end car brands Jaguar and Range Rover, plans for the Zica to go up against similarly small cars from Japanese and Korean rivals in a bid to maintain its position as India’s number one car company.
Of course, this isn’t the first time an automaker has run into bother with its car names. Chevrolet famously had problems with its Nova car in Latin America markets as the name translates as “no go” in Spanish. As for Honda, it soon learned that Fitta was, in some Scandinavian countries, a slang term for a woman’s genitalia. The company renamed it.