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Motoring in Spain June 2009


 Plan 2000 in Spain.  Recently I have been writing about Plan VIVE where Spanish government assistance is given in the form of heavy discounts on the financing interest when buying a new or nearly new (occasion) cars to get the factories moving and to remove older polluting vehicles form our roads.  Well, as you may also know from my column over a year ago, there was another plan called Plan Prever where a lump sum was offered as described in my web site up-date pages.  Both have not been as successful as was expected.  Both are now replaced by this new plan. The new government contribution (I write govt. but it is us tax payers who are the givers) sum is 2.000, in line with some other EU countries.  The UK Press reports that so far 35 000 cars have been sold under their similar scheme so perhaps this is the right formula at last.  

My local friendly Ford dealer, main Ford dealer, Garage Victoria, Fuengirola, Malaga Province, has given me some examples of THEIR offers which are reproduced below and they may be available at all Ford dealerships.  The cars are new, not 0-km as low mileage new cars are described here in Spain, or “occasion” where they are used but of of recent manufacture and qualify as far as the pollution and safety specifications are concerned.  I am a Ford fan because I have had about eight in my lifetime, many company cars including the Ford Granada Ghia all driven either in the UK or on South African roads where about 40% plus of these being un-tarred but still safe to drive on at up to say 1110kph.   The reliability, performance and low running costs have caused my long term affection for the Ford and my bad servicing experiences with BMWs here have put me off these expensive means of transport.  But like the saying goes, one man’s meat…..   I must admitv that I have had many types of cars including BMWs but I was very disappointed at th service (trouble-shooting) here in Spain, seven weeks to find a fault.

Example pricing.    Cars are the latest models, and are new with “delivery mileage” only on the clock.  The two cars shown are examples and all models have similar offers. 

  • Ford Fusion: specifications: 5-door, 1, 4 litre diesel 68 bhp, 6 gears.  Options to be discussed, basic standard price is 13.300, a saving of many thousands

  • Ford Focus: Hatchback, 5 door, 1, 6 litre diesel 90 bhp, 5 gears.  Again other options can be discussed but basic price is 14 570.

Please note that I offer these details only for your information.  They will probably apply at all main Ford Dealers as similar offers will be available for other makes of cars.



Handicapped Drivers’ rules for buying new/used vehicles, using Plan 200E. 

(Added 27 June 2009)

 The following are the additional rules now allowed so that registered handicapped drivers (minusvalidos) in Spain may benefit from extra advantages of the 2009 scrappage scheme to buy a new car or a nearly new car  (occasion) that has the necessary specifications as stated in the rules for the standard scrappage vehicles.

 There will be no charge for registering (matriculation or transfer cost) of the vehicle as long as the following applies:

  1. It must be registered only in the name of the handicapped person.

  2. The person must be at least 33% handicapped as tested by a Spanish registered doctor with a certificate issued.

  3. The claim will not be allowed if the existing handicapped vehicle is less than four years old since first registered by the handicapped driver.

  4. The new vehicle must not be sold before four years have elapsed so another may be bought.  If this is done, then all benefits regarding Trafico will be annulled.

  5. For repairs, and spares, to the newly registered vehicle, an I.V.A. tax of 4% (normally 16%) will apply.


Fancy a few weeks in jail?

 Of course, none of us do but the latest news (at time of writing) is that there are 500 ex-drivers (ex, because they cannot currently get behind a wheel) now languishing in Spanish jails for motoring offences is indeed a sobering thought.   I recently advised the penalties, as in the Third Edition of the book, for breaking the Spanish motoring laws, so for those who think it is just hogwash, it most certainly is not

500 licensed drivers out of a reported 23 million in Spain may not seem like a lot but it is if you are one of those drivers. 

Trafico, the government department responsible for all traffic matters in Spain, is being hounded by the Spanish government who is also being pressured by groups including Brussels to reduce the still high accident rates on the roads here, hence the seeming enthusiasm to enforce the laws.  Some crimes can easily be described as premeditated such as drinking and driving, not fitting a seat-belt and speeding excessively, using a mobile without as hands-free kit, etc. all very simple rules to obey but a small percentage of drivers seem unable to exercise self discipline and obey them. 

Why obey the laws?  Because all laws have been introduced because of actual accident causes proving that many of us are, on occasions, indeed stupid and take extreme risks placing the lives of ourselves, our loved ones and others at risk, or causing serious injuries.  


So be safe out there.


More You should know about motoring. 

Just seen a very sad sight in the last few days that reinforces my warnings about crime increasing now due to the credit crisis.   A friend of mine, a Spanish lawyer, Edwardo, who recently gave up motorcycle racing because as he said at the age of 30 (just a youngster), he got fed up with coming into too close a contact with the tarmac while racing in the 600 cc production class, and he did not mean just his knees (moto riders will know what that means).  These 600 cc sports road-bikes can go as fast as 150 mph (240 kph).

 Anyway, his legal practice owns a private house used as offices a street away from where we live near Marbella (important point that), and he has a 4-year-old BMW. It is normally parked in the driveway outside his offices all day in a very quiet street, and one evening he came out to find all the alloy wheels gone and the car left perched on wooden pallets from a local building site.  A similar theft occurred overnight about 6 months ago in an adjacent street where a fairly new Ford Ka lost its alloy wheels overnight.  The local police report that it is an increasingly common crime now here but I would guess everywhere now cash is getting to be rare possession for many of us.

On our old and now our new Focus, I have fitted these special theft-proof nuts, one to each wheel that can only be installed or removed with a corresponding special socket spanner.  But Edwardo glumly assured me that his BMW had such nuts fitted and then showed me damage to his car where the thieves had broken open the door, opened the boot and found the special socket to remove the wheels so, from now on, my socket will be hidden away or even carried around when I leave the car.    At night and during the day, our car is parked in a private (only ours) lock-up garage and we have a 24 hr. security guard present in the urbanisation and CCTV cameras.  So if you think you are safe, as I did, from expensive wheel theft, think again and do not leave the socket in your car boot.  You will suffer damage to the car but at least, hopefully, you will still be able to drive it to the repair garage or get it onto a grua easily.  The thieves also took such items as the gear stick knob from our friends BMW.   This type of theft will be more common now we are in recession with many out of work.

So be careful, please and trust nobody.

 The car manufacturers are still battling and will do so for a few years more for they will have profits to catch up on for future progress, but aren’t some of the new models just announced are for most of us over the top with speeds promised of over 300 kph (189 mph) and I wonder why for they are road-cars, not racing cars or even cars designed for weekend racing as well as use on public roads as well.  There is one such car originally called the Lotus 7, now the Caterham, and having driven one, although it was very exciting, I could not see the benefits over a fast motorcycle, but then many car drivers cannot handle a fast motorcycle competently but at least we all have a choice to satisfy our need for speed.  We must remember of course that even in a recession or depression, there are always those who have plenty of spare cash.  In my lifetime I must admit that I have had more fun on the roads in low-powered cars and bikes when “playing” at speed with others, and I have had great satisfaction in being able to safely lose them on the cornering as anyone can floor it on the straights.  I used to borrow a friend’s 200 cc Triumph Tiger Cub (top speed 70 mph) when In was in The RAF in Lincolnshire in the early 1960s and have fun against such cars as friends' Ford Consuls and Zodiacs, even eventually while on my 1959 BSA Super Rocket which I oovingly tund flowing the head and riding against irate E-Type Jaguar-drivers who were upste that their expensive cars would not levae or catch up with this young oik on a standard (well silenced) motorcycle, for my 650 cc BSA Super rocket, the only machine I bought new, was far too quick for most of the older cars with average drivers on twisty roads.  Ah, the happy days of my youth.   The only cars I left alone were the occasional Jaguar D-types (racing cars) one being driven by Archie Scott Brown, or the Lotus Nines being driven at breakneck speeds for the roads,


Do You Know all the road signs?  As regular readers over the last three years may know, I rarely write about what is happening in old Blighty unless it is something that may affect us here, and this could be one such item.  A recent survey carried out by UK Direct Insurance and the road safety organisation called BRAKE, and reported in The Times newspaper shows that there are far too many drivers/riders who do not know enough about road signs.  Now as an experienced drivers will agree, when you are travelling at say 80 + kph and you see a road sign, your brain has to very quickly acknowledge seeing the sign and then process it to ensure that the warning can be safely acted on.  In a recent survey 2.050 UK drivers were shown 8 road signs and only 12 % knew what they all meant.  67% could not identify the sign for a Zebra Crossing ahead; 45% did not know the sign for “no vehicle access” into a road and 30% did not know the minimum speed limit sign. 

 Frightening, isn’t it?  Many UK drivers come and drive in Spain where there are many more (different) signs.  We can also expect similar statistics, I guess, for drivers from other EU States although they tend to have the same continental signing system as in Spain.  I recognised this when I first wrote my book and I even asked some Spanish driving friends what some signs here meant and it was amazing how many did not know. DO YOU KNOW ALL THE ROAD SIGNS HERE?  If you do not, you would almost certainly be classed as a bad driver regardless of how good you think you are and that is why my book has many pages of all the road signs so we can at least learn them before we venture out onto the roads of Spain.  Britain has many other problems that are replicated here where many foreign drivers cannot speak OR understand English.  Here in Spain of course the problem for many expats from anywhere is not being competent in Spanish.  As I have found out, it helps a great deal when stopped in a routine road-block by te officials if you can converse in Spanish.  I have even shown some a copy of my book..

 So once again the reminder, you are the competent safe driver, or should be if you know all the rules and drive well, not the crazy ignorant ones who break the rules everyday.



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