Question: what do Bighorn, Cynos. Windom, Freda, Bongo and Cedric all have in common? Answer: they're all names from the comedy end of the Japanese new car playbook. Or at least that's how it'll likely seem to many in Blighty.  

Some day, somebody should write a book about how Honda happened to come up with a new small car in Japan called That's. Or how Mitsubishi settled on Dingo (and no, it has nothing to do with Australian wild dogs....trust me, it's way, way more convoluted and arcane than that).

Fact is, Japan has a long and chequered career in twisting and torturing English to arrive at some truly incomprehensible model names and phrases. Which is good in a way since Japanese names can be a lot wackier and entertaining than say, A4, CLK or Vectra. Where's the fun in that versus, say, Wagon R Stingray, Alphard or Scrum? 

Meantime, the news on the street is that sadly some of the classics are due for the chop. Mazda is rumoured to be dropping Bongo, for instance (although happily, the commercial version, the even more fabulous Bongo Brawny is set to continue). Likewise, Honda is axing one of the belters from its domestic catalogue, the Mobilio Spike.

Why? An effort to make names more international and - shock - more sensible, or because the locals were getting bored? Probably the latter, but still all is not lost. Plenty of the cryptic ones - Regiusace, Move Latte and Lapin spring to mind - are still alive and well in the land of the Rising Sun.