Mazda UK’s plans to call its new MPV, the 4, have proved to be a dead loss after the Hiroshima-based parent company revealed the number is associated with death and doom in the Asia Pacific region.

As a result the flexible format people carrier, which will offer five, six of seven seats, remains a car without a name, or number. It is taking centre stage on Mazda’s Sunday Times Motor Show live stand in Flexa concept car form.

British management are bemused as to why the parent company only notified its European importers of the superstitious element in numbering the car within the past week.

The number 4 was nominated because it fitted into the range sequence, which runs 2, 3 and 6. The company is currently conducting market research to see if the public would accept either 5 or 7 as a substitute, without confusing it with the MX-5 roadster and discontinued RX-7 rotary sports car.

Mazda is not new to naming or numbering controversy. In the early ’80s the Montrose coupe was launched on the day that the company sacked its dealer, in Montrose.