This may come as a surprise, but Ferrari is apparently mortal. Although it has denied being affected by the global economic crisis, the Italian supercar maker has announced plans to lay off up to 10 percent of its workforce this week. This comes on the heels of announcing in November that sales had dropped from around 600 units per month to a miniscule 92 sales worldwide. As many as 300 workers could be idled after negotiations with Italy's trade unions. So much for thinking it might be recession-proof.

For now the Maranello company has announced an unprecedented 20-day holiday shutdown this year to ward off huge stockpiles of parts and inventory. Even with the new California launching and the recently announced Scuderia Spider 16M on the way, and despite a two-year waiting list for its product globally, distributors around the world are apparently sitting on too much inventory. Sales of the V12 models have reportedly stalled and F430 sales have slowed to a trickle since the California was announced.

We now seriously doubt the company will be able to reach its goal of 10,000 sales by 2010, which Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo had been promising as recently as the Paris Motor Show back in October. For its part, Ferrari is saying that this is traditionally a slow time of year, that F430 sales were naturally affected by the announcement of the 16M and California, and that the extended holiday break has more to do with the calendar than the economy. We simply like the thought that this might one day mean lower prices for Enzo's finest. Thanks for the tip, Richard!

UPDATE: Ferrari contacted us to clarify some info that Autocar had previously reported. The Italian automaker wants to reiterate that is always focused on controlling costs, but that it never stated it is cutting 300 jobs. The Christmas Holiday is slightly longer only to bridge an extra weekend, as Christmas is on a Thursday this year. F430 sales are also where they're expected to be, although Spider sales are always slow in winter. 2008, like 2007, has been a good year for the firm and it is not experiencing any stock problems. The world financial crisis has mainly just streamlined the waiting list. We hope that clears things up. Now, can we expect a 16M under the tree?

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[Source: Autocar]