There might be a wee hiccup in planned Rally Sweden coverage this week. Ford has chosen to launch its new Ford Transit van (the proper one) to Britain's CV press tomorrow and Wednesday - in Barcelona.
I hate Barcelona, but needs must. And to those who think this is a jolly, it ain't. There are still a few misguided souls out there who think motoring jornalists have an easy life. Fly somewhere exotic, drive fabulous cars on stretches of deserted mountain roads, eat gourmet food and drink more wine than is good for you. Then dash off a few paragraphs in the first class cabin on the flight home. I wish.
The reality is rather different. Losing baggage or having it stolen, driving a 7.5 tonne truck in the Barcelona rush hour harried by tapas stuffed Catalonians who haven' a clue where they're going, but hell bent on going there anyway. Grabbing a pastry and juice on the go while deciphering route instructions. Alochol? No chance, those days are long gone, especially amongst the commercial vehicle writers. In fact some manufacturers use breathalysers before they allow their guests to take the wheel!
And then try to make sense of the multi lingual Press Pack stuffed with Technical info and Specs on the way home while fighting for the arm-rest with some snoring business man on one side and being clattered by the metal edged trolley pusher in the aisle.
But why Barcelona? Apparently it's easier to have one launch in one central European location and then fly journalists in and out. That means just one display and one fleet of vehicles in one location, and the manufacturers can do deals on flight costs. So economically and logistically it all makes perfect sense. It has nothing to do with glitz and glamour.
As for the Transit, it has already been seen by most journalists but this will be the first drive. Exciting times, although it's hard to believe that Ford no longer manufactures vans in Britain having closed the Southampton plant last year.
Nope, press launches these days are not for the faint hearted. And the reason I hate Barcelona? It's all here: