Volkswagen AG reportedly is nearing a decision to extend holiday downtime for several weeks at its giant factory in Wolfsburg, Germany.

VW’s top executives signaled in late October end-of-the-year shutdowns could be lengthened in order to trim production in line with the slumping European market.

“The worldwide situation has impacted the group,” Jochem Heizmann, a member of VW’s board of management in charge of production, told reporters in Berlin late last month. “But we’re using our flexibility possibilities (to adjust production). We are curtailing extra shifts, reducing overtime and (extending) some holiday (downtime).”

VW is mulling plans to shut the Wolfsburg factory Dec. 18-Jan. 11, and may close part of the plant as early as Dec. 5, Bloomberg says quoting an unnamed official.

The shutdown proposal has yet to be approved by management and labor officials, Bloomberg says.

The Wolfsburg plant recently launched output of the all-new Golf model. It still produces the outgoing Golf model for some markets and also builds the Golf Plus, Touran and Tiguan. Wolfsburg plant officials last month were targeting production to reach 3,400 vehicles per day by year’s end, once ramp-up of the new Golf was completed.

Western European light-vehicle sales were down 5.2% in 2008 through September, but even sharper drops in demand are expected in the remainder of the year and into 2009.