These are some confusing times in the automotive world. For the past few years, it seemed as though Porsche was primed to rule the world. It was selling plenty of product, and more importantly, it was quickly gobbling up shares of German juggernaut Volkswagen. Dried-up credit markets and slow sales have conspired to put a big wrench in Porsche's plans, though.

We already knew that the Stuttgart sports car (and SUV) maker has ditched plans to take over VW and instead plans to merge the two companies. German magazine Der Spiegel (via The Local) is reporting that times are so tight at Porsche that it actually skirted bankruptcy for three days in March. The German automaker received a 700 million euro loan ($978 million USD) from VW to stay out of trouble, but needs another 2.5 billion euros (nearly $3.5B USD) to stay in business. Porsche has tried to tap the German government to receive more loans to pare down the enormous debt it had incurred in attempting to buy VW. In fact, Porsche, which sells fewer than 100,000 vehicles per year, has accrued an astonishing 9 billion euros worth of debt (around $12.6B USD). That's 50% more debt than Chrysler.

[Source: The Local | Image: Michael Latz/AFP/Getty]