A hard blow in the soft-top market:

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In Germany, well-known body specialist Karmann is the latest victim, as this automotive company with great tradition has now also fallen foul of drastic cuts in demand and the global economic crisis. The reason cited by Wilhelm Karmann GmbH in Osnabrück on Wednesday was the threat of inability to pay given the level of their obligations. A cleanup strategy from September 2008 indicated that 2009 would at least show balanced results. With a tradition exceeding 100 years and worldwide workforce of some 8,000 employees, the companywent on to say that it saw itself fundamentally capable of being restored to profitability, being virtually free of any bank loans.

The Osnabrück-based company became internationally well-known in the Fifties by constructing the legendary VW Karmann Ghia and in the meantime achieved global fame as a convertible specialist for many manufacturers. Karmann planned to completely close vehicle production in May 2009 at their Osnabrück location by ceasing their conversion of the Mercedes CLK Cabrio. This has led to operational redundancy for a total of 1,300 employees. It was in February that the last Audi A4-Cabriolet rolled off the production lines at the Rheine works.