What is in a name? India's largest automaker Tata Motors would readily agree that calling Zica by any other name would be just as sweet.
Barely hours before the latest hatchback is showcased publicly for the first time at the Auto Expo 2016, in New Delhi (Greater Noida) from 3-9 February, 2016, the auto-maker has decided to do away with the name citing the notorious Zika virus, whose outbreak has hit several developing countries.
The virus, originally tracked to the dense forests in the east African nation of Uganda, has hit the shores of South America, leaving behind a trail of distraught parents with children suffering from microcephaly — an abnormally short head resulting from deficient brain growth.
Derived from the acronym of "zippy car", the new Zica, has been doing the rounds backed by Tata Motors' "Made of Great" campaign with the motto "What drives us from within is what makes us great", and has FC Barcelona and Argentina's ace footballer Lionel Messi as its brand ambassador.
According to a company press release, the auto-maker is committed to doing what is right for its customers. "The car has been designed for young people, and has already received enthusiastic reviews from informed commentators," it said.
The car will still carry the "Zica" label for the duration of the Auto Expo 2016, but a new name is in the offing with all protocols observed.
Coming back to the car itself, the Zica, which is the first product of Tata Motors' Impact design language, is based on the copiously tweaked Xo platform of the Indica. The car was expected to go on sale in India by mid-February. After the latest development, it remains to be seen if Tata will go ahead with the launch of the Zica this month.
The engine line-up of the Zica will include 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol and 1.0-litre three-cylinder diesel mills. While the 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine will churn out 83.8bhp of power at 6,000 rpm and 114Nm of torque at 3,500rpm, the diesel engine will produce 69bhp of power 4,000rpm and 140Nm of torque at 1,800-3,000rpm. Both engines will be mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. There is no AMT option on offer for now.