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Car and Driver: Indian Automaker Tata Forced to Rename Car Due to Zika Virus


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Tata Tiago (formerly Zica)Marketing departments often spend many months and millions of dollars coming up with names for new models, and then fate steps in with some unwanted context. While we don’t imagine that Indian carmaker Tata spent too many crore of rupees over the decision to call its new small hatchback the Zica, it was quickly overtaken by the widely publicized outbreak of the similar-sounding Zika virus in Brazil and other parts of South and Central America.

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There have been many famous examples through the years of naming SNAFUs, usually as the result of limited research. Toyota failed to realize when naming its MR2 mid-engined sports car that “em ar deux” means something quite different in French, and Buick once changed the name for its LaCrosse in Canada to Allure after discovering that the badge was also slang for masturbation in Quebec. (When the second-gen LaCrosse debuted, however, GM stuck with the badge in Canada, too.)

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Tata can’t be blamed for the latest one, it made the decision on the Zica name last year, well before the disease achieved its current notoriety. Fortunately, although named, the car hadn’t been launched yet, hence a hasty rebranding that has just been concluded.

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Keen to spin some good news out of it, Tata held an online poll with three options: Civet, Tiago, and Adore. And Tiago has just been announced as the winner, with the three-cylinder subcompact set to go on sale in India and certain other markets next month. In Portuguese-speaking countries, the new name is a form of “James.”

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