I regularly wish I was in Top Shop - but I really do wish I had been there to observe a group of male Ford execs being subjected to the random, and often frenzied routine carried out by twenty-something women in the high-street shops.

That’s right – Ford’s desire to make the Fiesta fashionable means the company has been keenly studying the habits of young women. Which, as a member of the target audience, I reckon sounds like a very high risk strategy – Volvo has been enrolling women into its customer clinics for years, without much success in my opinion.

I must admit that I’m totally confused as to why ‘Antonella’, as Ford is calling the Fiesta’s target customer, leads an ‘Italian lifestyle’. And I’ll eat my designer mobile phone if the Peugeot 207 is selling well because of the 205’s reputation – twenty-something woman would still have been at primary school when the flimsy ‘80s Pug went off sale.

All that notwithstanding, I reckon that women might have done the car industry a favour. The focus group sisterhood seems to have persuaded Ford to keep the Verve concept’s stand-out styling and many of the details of its futuristic interior. So thanks, girls – you seem to have forced a motoring icon bang into the focus of the iPod generation. I’ll chalk one up to women and retail therapy, then. 

It’s just a good thing they didn’t go in the sale season or some of the industry’s finest minds could have become research roadkill.