German luxury carmakers shorten holiday breaks to build more cars for China image

Audi, BMW and Daimler all plan to limit holiday breaks in order to satisfy increasing demand for luxury vehicles from China.

For the second year in a row, BMW and Mercedes-Benz plants will be shut down only for a week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, while VW’s Audi will stop production for two weeks at its European plants. It is a very different situation from 2009, when automakers prolonged year-end breaks to as many as three weeks due to weak demand.

All luxury automakers posted record November sales in China. Audi grew 69 percent, Mercedes rose 24 percent and BMW gained 9.8 percent. Back in Europe, demand for luxury vehicles dropped 1.4 percent in October.
However, the world’s three biggest luxury-car manufacturers are still reporting sales increases thanks to China and the U.S. BMW announced today that global deliveries gained 6.4 percent last month, while Audi grew 28 percent. Mercedes’ sales rose 8.3 percent in November.

“Because of the positive sales development, we’ll only have short factory breaks at the end of the year,” Martin Steinlehner, a Daimler spokesman, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.