Car names falling flat unexpectedly in certain markets are the stuff of legend but Tata Motors, parent of Britain's Jaguar Land Rover, has been caught due to a growing medical crisis not of its own making - a name it chose for a new model made perfect sense until now.

But the rapidly-spreading Zika virus has prompted the automaker to rename its soon-to-be-launched hatchback Zica, short for Zippy Car, after the mosquito-borne virus was declared an international health emergency, Reuters reported.

Tata said it would decide on a new name for the hatchback after a few weeks. It launched the car today (3 February) at the biennial New Delhi motor show.

The report said Tata was seeking an image makeover with the curvaceous hatchback, which is being endorsed by world soccer player of the year Lionel Messi. It has struggled to dispel perceptions of cheapness since releasing the Nano seven years ago costing under US$3,000.