BMW and Mercedes-Benz will shorten Christmas breaks at their factories because of surging demand for new models.

BMW’s German plants in Dingolfing and Leipzig, where the recently redesigned 5-series and the X1 SUV introduced last year are churned out, will stay open over the holidays after halting for about three weeks in 2009. Daimler’s Hamburg factory, which supplies parts to vehicles including the Mercedes E- and S-Class sedans, will also remain in operation throughout the holidays.

Luxury vehicle demand is bouncing back from the financial crisis on a rebound in the US and growth in China. BMW and Mercedes each target sales growth of more than 10% this year. Audi plans to add shifts next month to cope with record orders.

“This is the first strong signal that the boom over the last few months can continue into next year,” Juergen Pieper, a Frankfurt-based analyst with Bankhaus Metzler, told the Korea Herald.

A shortened holiday shutdown probably is a sign German luxury carmakers are gaining share, Himanshu Patel, an analyst at JP Morgan Securities in New York, said about the benefit to Johnson Controls. The company, the largest US auto supplier, gets about half its autoparts revenue in Europe, where vehicle production in the fourth quarter probably will be higher than analysts estimate, he wrote in a report.

BMW increased sales worldwide by 13% to 1.19m vehicles to the end of October while deliveries of Mercedes and the Smart city car rose 12% to 1.04m.

“Production capacity is the limiting factor at the moment,” Michael Rebstock, a spokesman for BMW, said. “We are producing as much as we can and are happy for every additional shift we can get.”

Some BMW factories will still stop production around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays to carry out necessary maintenance and to restock supplies, Rebstock said.

“This year we’re keeping the breaks as short as possible, while last year we had them as long as possible,” he said.

Daimler’s Hamburg plant, which makes exhaust systems, axles and steering columns, will remain in operation through the holidays, said spokeswoman Nicole Kicherer. Most auto factories will halt production between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, which would be about one to two weeks shorter than last year, she said.

Audi and Porsche have no plans to shorten the Christmas shutdown. Audi will shutter its German factories in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm as planned between 23 December and 7 January, also to carry out end-of-year maintenance on production lines, said Audi works council spokesman Ralf Mattes. 

Audi will add shifts in December on Saturdays and overnight from Sundays to Mondays “to cope with record orders,” Mattes said. Audi’s plant in Brussels, where the new A1 compact is made, will resume production on 3 January, he said, noting the carmaker’s five factories decide on winter breaks individually.