Tata Motors has become an unwitting victim of the rapidly spreading Zika virus. The automobile manufacturer is renaming its soon-to-be-released hatchback, which was slated to be called "Zica", prior to news of the outbreak became public knowledge.

Tata announced the decision to rebrand its latest model in a statement on 2 February. The company said it is dedicated to doing right by its customers and that the new name of the latest model will be announced once certain regulatory issues have been addressed.

Tata had originally planned to call its newest model Zica, which, according to the company, was short for "Zippy Car". The automaker's statement said: "Tata Motors today announced that it has decided to rename its soon-to-be launched hatchback. Empathising 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 car is slated to be launched at an upcoming auto expo in New Delhi from 3-9 February. Tata has said that the car will be displayed at the expo with its current name, clarifying that the Zica name will only be used for the duration of the expo. The car's new name is expected to be announced in the coming few weeks.

Tata has been working on an international image refashioning for its well-rounded model, with an aggressively advertised endorsement from the internationally infamous soccer player Lionel Messi.

Tata Motors is India's fifth largest car manufacturer and also the owner of the international brands Jaguar and Land Rover.

The World Health Organization has declared the Zika virus as a global health emergency. WHO called for a joint international response to tackle the outbreak, which it warns could "spread explosively".