Audi is taking a cautious approach to the market as sales grind down around the world. To do that, the four-ringed automaker plans to extend its Christmas shutdown, a funny way to celebrate Audi's best global sales year ever, anticipated to crest one million units.

While the luxury competition has struggled in the rough and tumble US market, Audi has seen sales gains, which is a big reason global sales are up 3.3% year over year. Audi has been so successful of late that it came within 100 units of (the much larger) Mercedes-Benz in global October sales, while BMW is also within 10,000 units. The new A4 sedan and wagon are helping matters, and the upcoming Q5 crossover is waiting in the wings to keep things interesting in 2009.

With all that good news, why cut back production? Audi Chief Executive Rupert Stadler called the German automaker's performance "increasingly influenced by declining markets." In other words, Audi wants to approach the global sales decline with the novel notion of cutting production before cars start sitting on dealer lots for months on end. Makes perfect sense to us.

[Source: Reuters]