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Porsche sales decline as crisis bites

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[November 26, 2008]  STUTTGART, Germany (AP) -- German sports car maker Porsche SE said Wednesday it expects revenue in the four months through November to fall some 15 percent from a year ago as sales slump amid the global economic crisis.

In a preliminary estimate, Porsche said it expected revenue of slightly more than euro2 billion ($2.56 billion) for the first four months of its fiscal year -- down from euro2.36 billion in the same period last year.

It said vehicle sales likely declined to 25,200 from 30,700. Porsche plans to release precise figures for the period in mid-December.

The maker of the 911 and the Cayenne said it expected a "noticeable decline" in sales for the full fiscal year from the 2007-2008 year's 98,652 vehicles.

"Worldwide, signs of a serious slump in the automobile industry are clearly visible," Porsche said in a statement. "Particularly in the United States, the single biggest market for Porsche, possible developments in the future make it difficult to reliably calculate."

Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking declined to give a full-year profit forecast, saying that "it cannot be done reliably now."

On Monday, Porsche said it had stopped assembly lines for the day last Friday at its main plant and said it would halt production for seven more work days through the end of January to adapt to weaker demand.

Porsche reported a net profit of nearly euro6.4 billion for the year that ended July 31, up from euro4.2 billion it earned in the 2006-2007 year, largely because of its investment in fellow German automaker Volkswagen AG -- Europe's biggest car maker by sales.

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Porsche said Wednesday it is standing by its target of building up its stake in Volkswagen to 75 percent next year. However, Wiedeking signaled Porsche may not exceed the 50 percent ownership mark by the end of this year as it had planned.

"In view of the current economic environment, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that we will reach this target in this calendar year," he said.

Porsche already holds more than 40 percent of Volkswagen and has effective control over the company.

Porsche shares were up 3.7 percent in Frankfurt at euro54.71 ($70.64).


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[Associated Press]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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