motor car

   As in other countries, the motor car has come to dominate urban and, to a lesser extent, rural life, though, since Spain started out from a relatively low incidence of car ownership before the 1960s, me growth has been all the more noticeable. In 1995, there were 14.2 million cars in Spain, an increase of 3.5 percent over the previous year, and 870,487 new registrations were added. In the twenty years up to 1996, the number of driving licences issued doubled, from 8 million to more than 16 million. The annual figure for new licences is around 700,000, which is close enough to the total of new car registrations to suggest that a large number of first-time owners are entering the market.
   Parking has become a major problem in the larger cities, where huge underground parks have been excavated, though this has not altogether solved the congestion caused by on-street parking: city life, especially in Madrid, is carried on to the accompaniment of constant sounding of horns by frustrated motorists hemmed in by double- and even triple-parked vehicles. Fines are in theory levied for illegal parking, but many motorists consider that they can safely ignore them because they are rarely followed up.
   Public holidays are notoriously a time not only of serious road congestion, but of a high frequency of fatal accidents, a statistic which has shown no improvement in the period 1976–96, when deaths in road accidents rose from 3,959 to 4,220. Fatalities peaked in 1990 at 5,736. Since 1993, only unleaded fuel has been available, and the state-owned petroleum company Campsa has had to compete against other suppliers. The fitting and wearing of seatbelts has been compulsory since 1992. The standard speed-limit in urban areas is 50 km/hr, and in some towns this is enforced by the phasing of traffic lights, which are programmed to turn to red if the limit is exceeded. Though a larger number of middle-of-therange and upmarket models has become available, the preference of the car-owning population is predominantly for the smaller family saloon, and for certain makes which have remained consistently popular. The top six sellers in the first nine months of 1996 were the Seat Ibiza (36,715 units), Citroën ZX (32,654), Ford Fiesta (30,349), Opel Corsa (29,885), Ford Escort (28,176) and Renault Clio (27,173).
   EAMONN RODGERS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Motor car — Motor car, or Motorcar Mo tor*car , n. 1. An automobile, locomobile, or locomotive designed to run and be steered on a street or roadway; esp., an automobile specially designed for passengers and propelled by an internal combustion engine. Syn:… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • motor car — motor cars also motor car N COUNT A motor car is the same as a car. [OLD FASHIONED] …   English dictionary

  • motor car — n BrE formal or old fashioned a car …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • motor car — motor ,car noun count BRITISH OLD FASHIONED a car …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • motor car — ► NOUN chiefly Brit. ▪ a car …   English terms dictionary

  • motor car — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms motor car : singular motor car plural motor cars British old fashioned a car …   English dictionary

  • motor-car — see motor car …   English dictionary

  • motor car — noun Brit. a car …   English new terms dictionary

  • motor car — noun (C) BrE formal or old fashioned a car …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • ˈmotor ˌcar — noun [C] British old fashioned a car …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

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