Daimler and Porsche set to scale back working hours to offset sales slump

GERMAN car-making giants Daimler and Porsche are to cut back working hours at their plants in an effort to offset the impact of a slump in sales that has lasted for a year.<br /><br />Daimler said it would put staff at most of its German sites on short hours for the fourth quarter of the year, even though it has enjoyed record sales volumes in China.<br /><br />About a quarter of the company&rsquo;s 160,000 strong workforce in Germany are already on short hours under a scheme which sees the government subsidise pay for affected workers to avoid redundancies.<br /><br />Daimler has suffered a dismal start to the year, seeing sales of its Mercedes marque tumble by 17.5 per cent in the first seven months, while sales at its trucks business fell by 48 per cent during the first half.<br /><br />Porsche meanwhile said it was to scale back output at its main sports car production plant near Stuttgart by 18 days before the end of the year, meaning that it would build 2,500 fewer cars.<br /><br />The chief of Germany&rsquo;s IG Metall union said earlier this week that he expected other carmakers to follow suit, to make up for the closure of the government&rsquo;s scheme to subsidise motorists who scrap their old car to buy a new model.<br /><br />BMW, the chief competitor to Mercedes, has said it will end short hours at one plant during September and October.