Steane Klose | Jan 29, 2009

Dark clouds are swirling at Aston Martin. Having already revealed plans to cut its workforce by up to 33 percent, Aston Martin is now looking to move some 600 workers to three-day working weeks to slow production and help it move some of its back-logged inventory.

The Monday to Wednesday roster is reportedly a temporary measure but is expected to last at least several weeks - and perhaps extend to months - if sales do not improve. You would have to say that improving sales will be an unlikely expectation given the global credit crunch.

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A recent plan by the British government to provide £2.3 billion in the form of taxpayer-funded low-interest loans may help keep Aston Martin's doors open for now. Much more will be needed however if AM sales remain in the doldrums. The likelihood of returning to full operating capacity in the short or medium term is a faint one.

The old view that premium car manufacturers were somehow immune to the effects of global economy - that the rich would stay rich and keep buying their expensive toys - has been well-and-truly smashed. While some manufacturers may be less vocal about the state of their balance sheets than others, a global economy in recession has every car maker feeling the pinch and looking ahead nervously.

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