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Martorrel site is now producing the second generation of Audi A1

SEAT SA is commencing production of an all-new car at its Martorell facilities in Spain. However, its plant won't be assembling a new SEAT car. The Spanish carmaker is now assembling the next generation of Audi’s small city car – the new 2019 Audi A1.

The sight of SEAT producing Audi vehicles isn't surprising as both carmakers are members of the larger Volkswagen Group. In addition, the A1 isn't the Audi vehicle produced at SEAT’s Martorrel site. In the middle of 2011, the VW Group assigned the SEAT facility to produce the Audi Q3 luxury subcompact crossover. Since then until July 2018, the Martorrel site had been producing the previous generation of the Audi Q3 and total Spanish production of the subcompact crossover reached nearly 800,000 units.

When the second generation of the Audi Q3 was unveiled, it was decided that the production of the subcompact crossover will be moved from Martorell to the Gyor facilities in Hungary. On the other hand, the previous generation of the A1 was assembled in Brussels. The idle manufacturing capacity at Martorrel left by the Audi Q3 might have prompted the VW Group to transfer the production of the second generation from Brussels to Martorell.

Read the entire article Martorrel site is now producing the second generation of Audi A1

The Grand Tour host Jeremy Clarkson catches pneumonia in Majorca, Spain

Two months ago, we heard about the accident Richard Hammond got into while taping for a segment for the Grand Tour TV series. This accident forced the Hamster to spend some time off from the show, while James May co-hosts with Jeremy Clarkson.

A couple of days ago, we heard another bad news, but it involves Jeremy Clarkson this time. The 57-year-old TV personality and host had been admitted to a hospital located in Majorca, Spain, during a family vacation. He was diagnosed with a serious case of pneumonia.

We learned about this as Clarkson posted a photo on Instagram of his arm hooked up to an IV. He even makes a joke about it saying that the IV is not his usual accessory when on holiday. According to BBC, he also messaged his friend Jemima Goldsmith on Twitter saying that he is connected to tubes and is seated on a wheelchair in the hospital. Following that tweet was a post on his Drivetribe account as he thanks those who sent him well wishes.

Read the entire article The Grand Tour host Jeremy Clarkson catches pneumonia in Majorca, Spain

Head off to Spain's Ferrari Land

Theme parks exist because adrenaline junkies and adventurous “YOLO” people exist. And the same goes for Ferrari. The Italian automaker exists because there are people out there who crave speed, adventure and fun -- all rolled into beautifully crafted vehicles. But what happens when you combine ridiculous theme park rides and Ferrari? Well, we’d say it’s one heck of a roller coaster ride.

Introducing Ferrari Land. Yes, you read it right. And if you’re thinking La La Land, then you’re getting it wrong – there’s no dancing and singing in this place, just plain screams of thrill and excitement. Ferrari Land. The name itself sends chills of excitement all over your body and elicits goosebumps down your arms. Yes, this adrenaline-inducing place exists, so get ready to be blown away as we take you deeper, through the gigantic red and silver arch adorned with the iconic Ferrari Logo.

Ferrari Land is nothing close to the likes of a 19th century traveling circus with weird ushers riding miniature Ladas, leading customers to the Prius roller coaster that would quietly take them through a Starbucks drive-through. But then, a Lada or a Prius roller coaster could probably draw us inside. The Spain-based theme park is actually a haven for adrenaline junkies, theme-park enthusiasts and of course, Ferrari fans. Ferrari Land covers more than 750,000 square feet of space at the PortAventura World resort in Salou, located on Spain’s Costa Dairada along the majestic Mediterranean Sea.

Read the entire article Head off to Spain's Ferrari Land

Spain’s scrappage program extended for the last time

For the eighth and last time, the Spanish government is renewing its auto scrappage program (Programa de Incentivos al Vehículo Eficiente or PIVE) to continue to boost new-car sales in the country. This program has been very helpful in boosting growth in the car market in Spain for the past 20 months after it suffered a very bad recession. For this latest batch of subsidies, the Spanish government has prepared EUR225 million.

When buyers exchange their old vehicle for a new unit, they get a discount of as much as EUR2,250. This discount is given to families with at least three children that are getting the seven-seater vehicles. Compared to the previous subsidy, this discount is EUR750 lower. A discount of EUR1,500 is given for other models – which is EUR1,000 lower than the previous subsidy.

The government and the automakers each fund half of the discount amount. This announcement of the extension was welcomed by the Spanish car industry lobby group ANFAC; however, Jose Luis Lopez-Schuemmer (its president) warned against being complacent and asking everyone in the industry to still work to raise efficiency and profitability.

Read the entire article Spain’s scrappage program extended for the last time

Choosing between a petrol-powered Audi A1 and a diesel-run one in the United Kingdom is quite tricky now with the arrival of the 97g/km TFSI version of the subcompact. This will be the petrol version with such specs in an Audi vehicle.

Likewise, this version of the three or five-door subcompact vows to deliver fuel economy of 67mpg while still dishing out the needed road dynamics – all at the more affordable starting price of £14,315 (on the road).

This new 95PS turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, which replaces the 89PS 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine in the A1, also provides around 160Nm of torque to empower the subcompact to accelerate from zero to 62mph in 10.9 seconds on the way to reach a top speed of 116mph.

Read the entire article Audi offers 2.0 TFSI version of A1 subcompact in the UK

Ford Motor Co. is planning to hike production at its Valencia site in Spain by 40 percent to around 400,000 units this year. The Valencia plant is now in charge of building the Mondeo midsize car and the Galaxy and S-Max large minivans, after their former home -- Ford’s Genk site in Belgium -- was closed in December as part of the carmaker’s plan to trim excessive capacity and return its European operations to profit.

Ford recently said in a statement that it has completed the final part of a EUR2.3-billion ($2.6 billion) expansion of its operations in Spain. This investment includes an initial EUR1.1 billion announced in 2011 and another EUR1.2 billion since 2013.

The US carmaker is boosting its output in Spain, which is currently making reforms – like easing the conditions for firing and hiring -- to restore economic stability. Ford chief executive Mark Fields and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have visited the Valencia site to mark the investment.

Read the entire article Ford to hike output at Spanish plant by 40% this year

After selling over 500,000 units, Audi decided to offer a facelift for its smaller model, the A1. As a result, the German manufacturer unveiled today the new 2015 Audi A1 Facelift and A1 Sportback Facelift models. The first thing you notice about the A1 facelift when looking at the photos are the redesigned headlights, which include the daytime running LEDs.

In addition, fresh decors and paints give the vehicles an even more attractive appearance. As an option, Audi can offer the roof arch on the A1 or roof dome on the A1 Sportback in a contrasting color. According to the manufacturer, thanks to the sportier design, the models are 2 cm longer at a length of 3.98 meters.

Six engines, gasoline and diesel, will be offered and some of them are new or have been improved. Audi is offering a completely new 1.0-liter three-cylinder petrol engine that delivers 95 hp (70 kW) and has a fuel consumption of 4.3 l/100 km (54.7 US mpg), while CO2 emissions are just 99 g/km.

Read the entire article 2015 Audi A1, A1 Sportback models get a facelift [w/video]

Higher demand for the new Citroen C4 Cactus has prompted French carmaker PSA/Peugeot-Citroen to add extra production shifts at its Villaverde site in Spain, according to a report by La Tribuna de Automocion.

The report, citing industry sources, said that workers at PSA’s Villaverde site will work on four Saturdays during next month It added that plant manager Jose Carlos Robredo disclosed that the C4 Cactus is enjoying a great success in Europe, adding that daily production of the model would surge by around 20 percent as PSA fully rolls it out across the region.

PSA commenced selling the C4 Cactus in France in September. The C4 Cactus is aim at those who are looking for a utilitarian compact car that runs a lesser costs. It features protective panels on its doors and bumpers – dubbed as Airbumps -- that absorb small impacts.

Read the entire article PSA adds shifts at Spanish site as demand for C4 Cactus spikes

Audi launched its A1 supermini-sized economical car back in 2010 and it appears that the vehicle is quite popular since the 500,000th unit rolled off the production line. That’s right folks, 500,000 Audi A1 cars were produced at the plant in Brussels. The jubilee model was a Misano red Audi A1 S line, powered by a 1.4-liter TFSI engine and built for a customer in Germany.

For those who don’t know, the 1.4-liter TFSI engine produces 122 hp (90 kW) as well as 200 Nm (147 lb-ft) of torque and when paired with a 6-speed manual transmission it offers a fuel consumption of 4.4 l/100 km on the highway, 6.8 l/100 km in the city and a combined 5.3 l/100 km.

When using the seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission, the Audi A1 is able to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 9.1 seconds, while top speed is 200 km/h or 124 mph. The model you see in the photos starts at 23,000 euros in Germany.

Read the entire article 500,000th Audi A1 rolled off the production line in Brussels

During a factory visit at Renault’s plant in Palencia, Spain, we found out that the French carmaker is preparing a brand new C-segment SUV a.k.a. a Koleos successor. The first pre-production vehicles will be built this summer and as expected, we will see the first photos with the Koleos successor in the second half of 2014. Renault will officially start production of its new model in early 2015.

The new C-segment SUV from Renault will be based on the popular Nissan Qashqai, use the same CMF (Common Module Family) Renault-Nissan Alliance platform and it will be powered by the same engines found on its sister model. This means we will find the 1.2-liter DIG-T petrol engine that delivers 115 hp (85 kW) and 190 Nm of torque (used also by the Dacia Duster) that replaces the outgoing 1.6-liter naturally aspirated powerplant.

The 1.2-liter DIG-T petrol engine emits only 129 g/km of CO2 and has a fuel consumption of 5.6 l/100 km. Moreover, the new C-segment SUV from Renault will also use the 1.6-liter DIG-T petrol engine that generates 150 hp and 240 Nm of torque. This engine needs 5.6 litres of fuel to travel 100 km and emits only 132 g/km of CO2.

Read the entire article Exclusive: Renault will start production of its new C-segment SUV in early 2015

Investindustrial’s subsidiary PortAventura Entertainment S.A.U., has entered into a licensing agreement with Ferrari to create a new theme park called Ferrari Land. Located just outside of Barcelona in Spain, the new theme park will be part of the PortAventura resort and theme park. The Prancing Horse’s theme park will comprise 75,000 square meters and will have a number of exciting and new attractions that are sure to appeal to fans of all ages.

One of these attractions will be one of the fastest and highest vertical accelerator in Europe. Indeed, this is a chance for the entire family to discover and experience what Ferrari is all about. It is not just about a theme park as inside PortAventura, a Ferrari-themed hotel will be built as well. This luxury five-star hotel will have a total of 250 rooms, different restaurants, and even a driving simulator.

Overall, the entire project is expected to need a total investment of 100 million Euros. It is expected that the theme will be officially open in 2016. At present, PortAventura welcomes an estimated 4 million visitors per years, 50% of which are from outside of Spain. PortAventura Executive President Sergio Feder shared that with the success of the Gardaland, the company implemented a long-term business development plan in partnership with Investindustrial to make sure that PortAventura would become one of Europe’s best family destination.

Read the entire article Ferrari Land to rise inside PortAventura resort and theme park in Spain

The Spanish government has offered its fourth car incentives program in a year as part of its bid to boost vehicle sales. The Spanish government has already green-lighted the EUR70 million ($97 million) program, according to Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria. The EUR1,000 subsidy is available for new cars having a price of EUR25,000 or less.

The subsidy must be matched by a discount from the dealership under the so-called "cash-for-clunkers" program. Buyers must also trade in a seven- to 10-year-old car in exchange for a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

According to Saenz de Santamaria, the previous three incentives programs – which have all run out – helped in the purchase of 300,000 vehicles. The fourth batch of incentives will have a duration of six months, or until funds run out.

Read the entire article Spain government approves $97 million incentive program

General Motors is shifting a large part of the output of the new Mokka subcompact sport-utility vehicle from South Korea to Spain. GM's Opel unit has received around 110,000 orders from Europe for the Mokka since the SUV was launched in June 2012, a spokesman for the division disclosed. Opel will commence producing the Mokka at its Zaragoza site in Spain in the second half of 2014.

The production shift could help the Zaragoza site achieve full output capacity and protect its 5,800-strong workforce, Opel said. The Zaragoza currently builds the Corsa compact and Meriva compact van, which are experiencing slumping demand. The Corsa and the Meriva saw their sales in 2012 drop by 14 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

Opel chief executive Karl-Thomas Neumann was quoted as saying that the move will allow them to build the Mokka in greater numbers and supply customers faster.

Read the entire article Official: GM is moving Opel Mokka output from Korea to Spain

Spanish carmaker Seat is requesting to have workers at its Martorell and Zona Franca sites stay at home on rotating basis due to weak demand for its vehicles. Seat wants 571 workers daily to stay at home between September and December 2013, when it plans to implement production stoppages for 16 days on one of its lines.

The stoppage will affect 2,800 workers. Seat also plans to stop production for 35 days in 2014 on another line, affecting 3,800 workers. Seat said in a statement that the measures are aimed at guaranteeing "the continuation" of all workers as well as an adequate relationship between production and demand for their products.

Seat has presented its stoppage proposals to unions and the Catalonian regional government, adding that it would hold a 15-day consultation period.

Read the entire article Seat bids to cut working hours at its Spanish sites

General Motors Co. is mulling shifting a large chunk of the current output of the Opel Mokka subcompact crossover from South Korea to Spain, according to a report by German daily Handelsblatt, citing sources privy to the carmaker. GM’s Opel unit has already disclosed it will build the next-generation Mokka in Europe and not in South Korea.

Over 100,000 Mokkas have been ordered since it was launched in Europe in October 2012. With growing demand for the crossover, Opel has been experiencing production bottlenecks for the model.

Shifting the output of the Mokka to Opel’s Zaragoza site in Spain could help fill the plant’s extra capacity and lower losses at the unit. The Zaragoza site currently builds the Corsa subcompact and Meriva small minivan models.

Read the entire article GM mulls shifting large part of Opel Mokka output to Spain

Opel’s workers at an auto plant in Spain agreed to a two-year salary freeze as part of a labor deal that seeks to make it more competitive against plants in Europe. GM’s spokeswoman Pilar Guridi said that its 6,000-strong workforce at the facility near Zaragoza will not be given wage increases in 2013 and 2014 as part of a five- year collective bargaining agreement.

In a statement last Tuesday, Opel said that this agreement is expected to help the plant become a part of the automaker’s investment plans and allotment of new models. Since 1999, $18 billion in accumulated losses were posted by GM's European operations, which consist mainly of Opel and its British sister brand Vauxhall.

GM, which aims to save costs by shutting down a plant in Bochum, Germany, hopes to break even in Europe by 2015. Guridi said that the salaries at the Spanish factory, which produces the Corsa subcompact and Meriva minivan, may increase by up to 1.5% beginning in 2015 and will be reviewed in 2016 and 2017 based on potential profit at GM in Europe. She said that nearly 65% of workers voted for the agreement.

Read the entire article Opel workers in Spain accept a two-year salary freeze as part of a labor deal

Nissan is planning to transfer the assembly of the Primastar van from Spain to France, specifically at Renault's Sandouville plant, according to sources. This means that Nissan’s alliance partner in France will be able to keep its promise to increase domestic output in exchange for union concessions.

The upcoming Primastar variant will be produced in France together with Renault's Trafic and a version of GM's Opel Vivaro, which use the same vehicle platform, sources said. The source also said that the automaker has already decided to withdraw Primastar from Barcelona.

It makes sense that Primastar production will be combined with other alliance commercial vehicles. Moving the Nissan Primastar will be done following the 2014 launch of a new Renault Trafic, which is also being shifted to Sandouville from GM's plant in Luton, England.

Read the entire article Nissan to transfer Primastar van production to France from Spain

Mercedes-Benz will launch a subcompact car range with the help of partner Renault-Nissan, according to German magazine AutoBild. The subcompact car range, to be known as X-class models, carries tag prices of below EUR20,000, targeting rivals like the Mini brand and the Audi A1, the magazine reported.

The subcompact models are expected to fill the gap between the Smart brand and the Mercedes A- and B-class compacts. AutoBild said that the pioneering model would be an SUV-styled crossover that would target the upcoming Audi Q2.

The pioneering model would be based on the Renault Captur subcompact crossover and could be rolled out in 2018. It would be followed by a spacious subcompact minivan that would be a smaller version of the Mercedes B class. The subcompact minivan would be based on the next-generation Renault Clio subcompact hatchback. Both models will be powered by three- and four-cylinder gasoline and diesel powertrains.

Read the entire article Mercedes-Benz to launch subcompact car range to take on MINI, Audi A1

Car sales in Spain dropped 13.9 percent year-on-year in March 2013 to 72,677 units, no thanks to a seasonal effect that offset a government subsidy scheme designed to stimulate the carmaking sector. According to industry association Anfac, carmakers sold 180,724 vehicles in the first three months of the 2013, reflecting an 11.5-percent decline compared to the same period in 2012.

According to Anfac, the subsidies aimed at stimulating car sales are helping the auto sector avoid sharper declines. The industry association remarked that the March numbers were impacted by the seasonal effect of Easter, which resulted to the loss of three working days.

Spain’s subsidy scheme was reintroduced in October 2012, and has been instrumental in encouraging private customers to purchase vehicles and has resulted to around 1,000 new deals a day, Anfac said.

Read the entire article Car sales in Spain fall 13.9% in March to 72,677 units

A new Nissan compact car will start production at its Barcelona, Spain plant, disappointing French unions who have been hoping that production of this model will be assigned in one of Renault’s plants in France. In a statement last Monday, Nissan said that it will make a 130 million euros ($178 million) investment in the Barcelona plant to raise capacity to assemble 80,000 units of the car annually, with production beginning in 2014.

This investment will generate a thousand direct jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs. This car will compete with rivals like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. It marks Nissan’s return to the mainstream compact segment in Europe. The company had quit when it halted sales of the Almera in Europe in 2006. This model will be the first car that its Barcelona plant will roll out.

This factory is presently where the Pathfinder SUV and Navara pick-up, and NV200 commercial van are built. In addition, Nissan will spend 14 million euros in Barcelona to make 24,000 units of added annual capacity for the pick-up and 6 million euros to make transmissions for the Leaf electric car eNV200 electric van. Nissan is returning to the European compact segment to help the company achieve its aim of replacing Toyota as the region's No. 1 Asian brand by unit sales.

Read the entire article Nissan will start production of its Vw Golf rival in Spain