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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 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 225 million euros.

When buyers exchange their old vehicle for a new unit, they get a discount of as much as 2,250 euros. 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 750 euros lower. A discount of 1,500 euros is given for other models – which is 1,000 euros 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

Ford to hike output at Spanish plant by 40% this year

Ford Motor 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

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

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

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

Volkswagen will invest around EUR785 million ($1 billion) in a plant near Pamplona, Spain over the next five years. VW’s plant has a workforce of around 4,600 people, helping produce the Polo subcompact. The plant has the capacity to produce up to 300,000 cars a year, making it one of the group's biggest producers.

A big chunk of the EUR785-million investment will be spent to prepare installations for building the next generation of Polo as well as its future replacement, Volkswagen said in a statement. VW is the third carmaker in recent months to boost investment in Spain. In November 2012, Renault announced it would be hiring 1,300 new workers for its plants in Spain.

Ford also announced it would shut down its site in Belgium shift production to Spain. Nissan, on the other hand, recently announced that it was cancelling plans to expand production of a new model in Spain, following a failure to secure a deal with its union workers over new contract terms.

Read the entire article VW to invest 785 million euros in Spanish plant over next 5 years

French carmaker Renault is planning to create 1,300 jobs in Spain under a scheme to increase output at its local plants, following an agreement with unions. Renault said in a statement that it will assign its Palencia plant in Northern Spain to build two new vehicle platforms, one a derivative of the other, and shared with Nissan.

The new platforms will underpin four vehicle bodies, allowing the French carmaker to boost total annual production by around 40,000 units to 280,000 units.

Through 2014 and 2015, output at Renault’s engine and gearbox plants will increase to almost 1.4 million units annually, the carmaker added. Renault’s body assembly plant in Valladolid will gain from the "competitive performance” agreed from recent negotiations with the carmaker carmakers, extending and improving the facility's options “with regard to future assignments."

Read the entire article Renault to increase output and create 1,300 jobs in Spain

Seat has commenced production of its new Leon hatchback at its Martorell plant in Spain. The new Leon hatchback is the result of EUR800 million (£650 million) in total investments, particularly in vehicle research and development, and production facilities. Seat expects the new five-door Leon hatchback, unveiled at last month’s Paris Motor Show, to spearhead its international expansion and to increase output at the Martorell plant, where it will be produced alongside the Ibiza, Altea, and Exeo and together with the Audi Q3.

The model is the firstborn of the new Leon model family, which by 2014 will include a sleek three-door version and a practical five-door estate. The approach adopted for the Leon mirrors the one employed for the hugely successful Ibiza range. The approach is expected to help the Leon become a key competitor in the compact segment in Europe, which accounts for 38% of total car sales.

The production of the Leon hatchback at the Martorell plant in Spain is expected to provide a big boost to the economy, as it ensures 1,600 jobs on the production line plus more than 6,000 throughout the supply chain. Seat expects that the introduction of the two new Leon body styles will provide new opportunities to create new jobs.

Read the entire article Seat starts Leon’s production in Martorell, Spain

Opel will be manufacturing its new-generation Corsa model in Spain by 2013, GM Europe President Nick Reilly told Spanish newspaper Expansion. By that time, Opel will resume full capacity at its Zaragoza plant in northern Spain. He further stated that it is GM's plan for the facility to be kept at full capacity.

Moreover, Reilly stated that he expects GM Europe to reach breakeven in 2011 and achieve a profit in 2012, compared with a $637 million loss in 2010.

Additionally, he disclosed that Opel's orders are "still very strong" just like the rest of the carmakers. Even thought the market is "weak," there are no indications that the company will have a "bigger crisis," Reilly added. The workers at Opel are pushing GM to transfer additional production to Europe by manufacturing the next-generation of several models there.

Read the entire article 2013 Corsa to resume full capacity at Opel’s plant in Spain

Ending the season with a huge bang is Jorge Lorenzo who takes his ninth win of 2010 at the Valencia Grand Prix. It wasn’t a clear win throughout the race as he had to come back from seventh to take the lead. Settling for second place is polesitter Casey Stoner of Ducati. Third place went to Lorenzo's Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi.

During practice and qualifying, the name that was being pointed out as the favorite was Stoner. But he failed to get ahead in the race despite the intense fight for second place in the opening laps between Dani Pedrosa (Honda), Nicky Hayden (Ducati), Marco Simoncelli (Gresini Honda) and the two Yamaha drivers.

For a brief time, the top two slots were Ducatis after Hayden stole to the second place from Pedrosa.

Read the entire article Jorge Lorenzo wins at Valencia, MotoGP’s finale