Time is up for Maybach. Daimler AG has decided to pull the plug on Maybach after a decade of disappointing sales and lack of profitability. The German company will instead focus on the fifth generation Mercedes S-Class scheduled for 2013. This news follows months of rumors regarding the future of the German luxury car manufacturer.
Mercedes-Benz presented at the 1997 Tokyo Motor Show a luxury concept car based on the Mercedes S-class – the Mercedes-Benz Maybach concept car – which in name, style and luxury referred to the historical German manufacturer Maybach. This name was revived as a brand in the early 2000s by Mercedes-Benz when the company launched the Maybach 57 and 62, which were aimed as a challenger for Rolls-Royce Phantom and Bentley Arnage in the “super luxury” segment.
Gallery: Maybach Edition 125!
Despite the exclusivity and high quality, Maybach failed to impress the public. Whereas the British luxury manufacturers have seen sales grow to record levels in recent years, sales by Maybach were very low. In 2010 Maybach sold just 200 cars compared to Rolls Royce’s 2,700 and Bentley’s 5,100. Sales for Rolls-Royce soared 41 percent to 2,441 cars in the first nine months of this year, while Bentley managed to increase its sales by 31 percent to 4,763 cars.
The management of Daimler has been looking for ways to improve the sales and image of Maybach. The Germans considered until recently a partnership with Aston Martin, but these talks stopped in September.
Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche was quoted as saying in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung interview which will be published tomorrow:
We came to the strong conclusion that the sales chances for the Mercedes brand are much stronger than those for Maybach. It would not be sensible to develop a successor model for the current Maybach. We held extensive discussions internally about which way would promise the greatest success in the luxury segment, and we came to the conclusion that the sales chances for the Mercedes brand were better than that of Maybach. It would not be sensible to develop a successor model for the current Maybach.
Daimler will continue to produce the Maybach models until the fifth generation of the S-Class will be unveiled in 2013, which will fill in the void left by Maybach. Dieter Zeche plans to extend the number of S-Class derivatives from a current three to six. The next generation S-Class will be offered in three wheelbase variations and six different body styles, including a top-of-the-range S600 Pullman. This move is also intended to boost the model’s volume, possibly even doubling it to 80,000 cars a year.