Frankfurt: Sales at the German luxury sports-car maker Porsche have crashed in another sign of problems for high-end auto manufacturers, company data showed on Friday.
Sales fell by 15% in the first nine months of Porsche’s fiscal year to euro 4.6 billion ($5.98 billion).
The result, which covered the period from 1 August to 30 April, did not include sales at Volkswagen, the biggest European auto manufacturer, in which Porsche holds a stake of 51%.
Porsche said its operating profit was also less than in the same period a year earlier, but did not provide figures.
“A look at global unit sales makes clear that no region is being spared the sharp decline in automobile markets,” a statement said.
Deliveries fell by 27.6% to 53,635 vehicles on a 12-month basis, as luxury cars in particular paid a price for weaker consumer sentiment.
Small car sales have resisted the slump in Germany and elsewhere better, owing in large part to car scrapping premiums offered by many governments.
At Porsche, sales of its iconic 911 model fared much better than that of the Cayenne sports utility vehicle, but were still off by 18.2%.
Looking ahead, the company declined to give a precise forecast but said sales were likely to fall below the level in its previous fiscal year.
Porsche ran up debt of nine billion euros trying to increase its stake in VW through the use of complex stock options.
The two groups have agreed to merge, but the talks have hit obstacles and Porsche is now seeking investment from the Gulf state of Qatar, which would be a major shift for its present owners, the Porsche and Piech families.
On Tuesday, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani told reporters that the results of talks with Porsche should be revealed within three weeks.
“We are still negotiating over the share to be acquired,” he said. “We have not disclosed any details, nor has Porsche, because there is an agreement between the two parties not to divulge any information,” he said.
German media reported this week that Qatar was ready to buy at least 25% of Porsche, which would allow it to pursue its takeover bid for VW.
Porsche has also asked for a German state credit of euro 1.75 billion after struggling to obtain loans from private banks as credit markets tightened up.
It is not expected to obtain the loan from the German state-owned KfW bank however.