Mike Stevens | Nov 3, 2008

It seems even the hideously wealthy are not impervious to hard times, as German powerhaus Porsche has announced it will cut production from December 22 to January 9, extending its annual Christmas shutdown by three days in response to the global economic slowdown.

"This is due to a difficult global economic situation, especially in the United States," a spokesman for Porsche said. For sheer sales numbers, the US is Porsche’s biggest market.

While Porsche had previously warned its shareholders that 2009 will be a tough year if the global economy continues to spiral out of control, the brand announced in October revenue of 7.5 billion euros (A$14.38 billion) for 98,000 Porsche vehicles sold worldwide in the 12 months up to July 31 this year.

Porsche is in the middle of a battle to take over its parent company, Volkswagen – currently Europe’s biggest automaker. According to Porsche, it now controls 74.1 percent in VW, courtesy of a 42.6 percent direct equity stake, and options giving it a further 31.5 percent. The ultimate immediate goal for Porsche, however, is to increase its direct equity share to over 50 per cent by the end of the year. Then, depending on the economic conditions in the coming year, this would then be increased to 75 percent in 2009.

Porsche’s share price closed at 69.39 euros on Friday. Volkswagen’s shares stood at 521.75 euros.

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