Page last updated at 08:30 GMT, Friday, 5 September 2008 09:30 UK

Slump hits Bentley car production

Bentley continental
Bentley's sales have been hurt by the slowing economy

Some 1,400 of Crewe-based carmaker Bentley's 4,000 strong staff are going down to a three-day week.

The Volkswagen subsidiary blamed the cut in production on the economic slowdown and falling sales.

The luxury car maker says there has been a 16% fall in global sales in the year-to-date, with demand dropping the most in the US market.

Production line workers were told on Thursday that shifts were being cut from four days a week to three days.

And if poverty is not about to hit the luxury carmakers' budget, what about people's perceptions about those who are prepared to flaunt their wealth in the midst of an economic downturn?

Staff will stay on full pay until production is stepped up again under a "time banking" agreement.

Bentley says it is a temporary measure which is being monitored constantly and the firm expects the situation to remain challenging for the rest of this year and into the start of 2009.

But Bentley says the steps should safeguard the brand's value and the future security of the company and its workforce.

Bentley is part of Volkswagen Group, Europe's largest car manufacturer.

An earlier version of this story said all 4,000 Bentley staff would be going down to a three-day week.

Inside the Bentley factory
24 Dec 02 |  Business

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