So what's a Ford Focus worth? According to the company itself, after the latest round of price increases, a boggo 1.6 Zetec 3-dr will now cost you £17,895 if you pop into your local dealership and - unwisely - buy one without haggling.

Yet you barely need to wiggle a mouse to see that's just where the bidding starts. fordonline.co.uk will flog you one for £14,495 (a £3400 saving), Arnold Clark is knocking out the more powerful 1.8 Zetec 5-dr for £14,795 (a £3950 discount) and Birchwood Ford will do the 1.8 car for £13,995 (£4750 off). And that's after spending less than two minutes online: look even harder and there may well be better deals out there.

Autocar's Ford Focus reviews

Like many, I'm struggling to see the logic of Ford's UK pricing, which seems to have only a very distant relationship with what the cars actually go for. Ford has raised its prices four times in the last year, and has warned consumers that there may be worse to come - yet all it seems to have achieved is moving the transaction price that cars actually sell for to something adjacent to last year's list price (in March 2008 that Focus 1.6 Zetec 3-dr cost £14,272.)

Of course, at the same time, anybody who is getting a Ford as a company car - a car that's will be bought or leased with a generous discount on list - will be watching their tax bill rise on the back of its soaring 'P11D' value. If there's a winner in this equation, I've yet to spot it.

While this is going on Renault is actually introducing cheaper models, despite being subject to the same currency issues that come from building cars in the Eurozone and then flogging them over here. The new base 1.6-litre Megane Sports Tourer now undercuts the equivalent Focus estate by £3950.

It’s a difference, frankly, that makes Ford look a bit silly.