Mumbai: Tata Motors Ltd has renamed its soon-to-be launched hatchback as Tiago, the company said in a statement on Monday.

First showcased at the Auto Expo in Greater Noida, near Delhi, earlier this month, the small car was earlier named Zica.

But the name was similar in pronunciation to the dreaded Zika virus, causing widespread panic in the Americas. The World Health Organization on 1 February declared the mosquito-borne virus an international public health emergency, based on the recommendation of a committee of independent experts.

Tata Motors will apply for regulatory permissions and is working towards a market launch by March end.

The company crowd sourced the new name of its hatchback. The hunt commenced with a global initiative, involving netizens, both within and outside India. Within three days, 48 million enthusiasts engaged with the brand on social platforms, with more than 37,000 car enthusiasts submitting their suggestions through social and mobile channels.

Tiago was chosen from a shortlist of three entries—Tiago, Civet and Adore—that was then opened up for voting.

“We have begun working towards launching this stylish car and are determined to place it in the market addressing all relevant needs of the target audience," said Mayank Pareek, president of passenger vehicle business unit at Tata Motors.

Tata Motors hired a social media agency to trawl the web to ensure that the potential names of its hatchback are not dogged by any controversy in any part of the world.

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