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Luxury Automakers Trim Budget, Middle Class Secretly Smug

Posted in Audi, auto industry, BMW, Expensive Cars, Foreign Cars, Luxury Cars, Newsworthy, Porsche, Volkswagen by Suzanne Denbow | December 1st, 2008 | Leave a Reply |

Offering proof that the upper class is not always immune to the economic woes of the little people, German luxury automakers Audi, BMW, Porsche, and Volkswagen (alright, perhaps the “luxury” tag is a a stretch for Vee Dub, but hey, they are German) have all suffered a significant blow to their bottom line. Most notable are the struggles Porsche is facing inasmuch the brand known as the epitome of affluence is most often considered to be impervious to assault from the harshness of the “real world” (for further reference, see: bad toupées and trophy wives). Unfortunately, however, even the plump notes torn from Louis Vuitton-clad checkbooks by expertly tanned, manicured fingers aren’t enough to shield Porsche from the faltering economy (hat tip to RockX3 for the story)

In addition to the temporary production halt ordered on November 21 of this year, Porsche has also ordered an additional seven day moratorium at its headquarters in Zuffenhausen, Germany. According to reports, the factory shutdowns are a direct result of floundering sales which Porsche reports are down significantly from July’s total of 98, 652 vehicles. Forced to experience the trickle-down effect, Volkswagen – 42.6 controlling shares of which are owned by Porsche – has also announced possible plant closures. Tentatively, VW has planned to suspend production at its Wolfsburg plant for a three week period, spanning from Dec.18 to Jan.11. Meanwhile, VW’s luxury arm, Audi, stated that although sales are currently stable enough so as not to mitigate any emergency actions, temporary plant closures might be considered as a preventative measure.

Finally, the last bit of dark news out of Duetcheland comes from BMW, the luxury car manufacturer everyone loves to hate (or more specifically, those who can’t afford it love to hate). In addition to a rather drastic schedule alteration which included a one-week shutdown at Leipzig last month and a current workday consisting of only one shift, BMW is also planning to launch a volley of layoffs. Originally intending to release 8,100 employees from service, on Tuesday BMW upped the body count by another 400 while simultaneously reporting a 2.4% drop in value in the European stock exchange.

Source: Reuters
Photo Cred: NYTimes

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