Since September, Porsche’s main plant at Zuffenhausen has been running eight extra shifts in order to satisfy demand for the all-new 911. Yesterday, the carmaker announced that its global sales increased by 24 percent, to 11,688 vehicles, in October.
Demand in the Chinese and U.S. markets has increased by double digits, easily offsetting the 4.5 percent decrease in European sales. As the European debt crisis remains unresolved, though, things may not be as rosy in the near future.
According to Reuters, which cites sources who wish to remain anonymous since the issue is supposed to be confidential, Porsche will implement a five-day working week at Zuffenhausen starting January, halting the weekend shifts.
Said sources added that the carmaker is also considering cutting one hour off the regular eight-hour shift at its biggest plant, which currently churns out around 170 vehicles a day.
“Weak demand can be traced all over the premium market”, Credit Suisse analyst Erich Hauser told the news agency. “Europe is in the doldrums. Driving pure amusement cars is clearly becoming less desirable in difficult times.”
Moreover, research firm IHS Automotive expects that sales of Porsche’s sports cars, i.e. the 911, Boxster and Cayman in Europe will drop by 10.7 percent, to 11,543 units, in 2013.
Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller had already said that next year’s sales could be below initial projections to the tune of 5-10 percent, so the company was considering trimming its output to maintain profitability.
On the other hand, there are no plans to cut back production at the Leipzig factory, where the Cayenne and Panamera are assembled and the compact Macan SUV will join in next year.
Currently, the plant produces nearly 480 cars daily and Porsche has already added a third shift for the next six months due to increased demand for the Cayenne.
A Porsche spokesman commented that the company’s production system enables it to easily decrease or increase production to meet demand as it “allows for extremely flexible operation”.
By Andrew Tsaousis