Coming up with names for new cars might seem like an easy job, but it is actually fraught with danger. When Indian industrial giant Tata, which makes everything from steel to tea bags, decided to call its latest small hatchback the Zica, it probably seemed like a great idea at the time. This contraction of “Zippy Car” is short, easy to pronounce, and a bit different. You can imagine the congratulatory back slapping in the marketing meeting, they probably broke out a box of the company’s tea bags to make a celebratory brew.
Unfortunately, some time after they held that meeting, the deadly mosquito-borne Zika virus started to make headlines around the world. Zika has been declared an international health emergency by the World Health Organisation and has spread to 20 countries, so having a car with a name that sounds like a disease started to seem like a pretty terrible idea.
Even though the Tata Zica is already on display at the New Delhi motor show, the company has taken the decision to come up with a new name before it officially goes on sale. One can only hope that if they are still playing around with the Zippy Car idea, they won’t just swap it round and go for “Cazi”.
The name game
Naming cars in a way that is acceptable to everyone has long been a problem in the motor industry. If you were seeking car finance bad credit in Southampton from a company like
http://www.rightdrive.co.uk, for example, you might be looking to buy a Nova, but in Spanish, “no va” means “no go” so in Europe it was called the Corsa – a name that has since also been used in the UK despite sounding like “coarser”. Spain is often a problem; the Mitsubishi Pajero is called something different there because “Pajero” in Spanish means self-abuser.
Other names have just been rather silly. In the 1970s, for example, GM tried to sell a car in the US called the Dodge Swinger.
Japanese company Daihatsu made a car called the Charade; maybe it was just pretending to be a car. Mitsubishi messed up again with the Starion. The company has always denied this was a misspelling of “Stallion”, but do we really believe that?