Workers at Ford’s three production units in Brazil will have their Christmas holiday break lengthened as sales of cars and trucks slow.

The Brazilian Association of Vehicle Dealerships (Fenabrave) last night said October domestic vehicle sales fell less than expected versus September, down 13.81% lower than in the previous month, at 398,507 units.

The group blamed the decline in sales on banks being pickier over who to grant auto loans to than to a consumer contraction.

The 8,800 workers at Ford’s Camacari plant, in northeastern Bahia state, were originally booked off from 24 December to 2 January but will now leave on 10 December and return on 5 January, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Vacations will start a week early on 15 December at Ford’s two other plants in southeastern Sao Paulo state. Workers will be back on the job on 2 January.

Ford reaffirmed that its investments scheduled for South America until 2012 will be maintained.

Volkswagen, Fiat and General Motors have also announced collective holidays.

Volkswagen sent 1,900 workers in Parana state on holiday on Tuesday while Fiat’s plant in Betim, Minas Gerais state, plans to suspend production for a time late this month following an earlier hiatus last month.

As reported earlier by just-auto, General Motors imposed collective vacations on employees at its plants in Sao Jose do Campos and Sao Caetano, in Sao Paulo state, and Gravatai, Rio Grande do Sul state.