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End of the line for Maybach

Maybach, or maybe not: Mercedes will soon draw the curtain on its mega-luxury brand.

Daimler confirms that loss-making Maybach will be replaced by new high-end S-class

29 Nov 2011

DAIMLER’S upper-crust Maybach brand will be euthanised within 18 months and replaced by all-new high-end Mercedes-Benz S-class models when the next generation Benz flagship arrives in 2013.

The move to drop the loss-making limousine line was confirmed today by spokesmen for the German company in both Europe and Australia.

Mercedes-Benz Australia last sold one of the made-to-order Maybachs in 2009, with just 13 of the million-dollar hand-built luxury cars finding homes in this country since the line was launched here in 2004.

The Maybach name made famous in the 1920s and 1930s was revived by Daimler as a foil to Rolls-Royce and Bentley when those brands were acquired by German rivals BMW and Volkswagen.

However, it never really hit the spot with sufficient numbers of well-heeled clients to make it viable and, after much discussion internally at Daimler’s Stuttgart headquarters, Maybach has reached the end of the line.

 center imageMercedes-Benz Australia manager corporate communications Jerry Stamoulis said Maybach had sufficient orders to keep it operational until the middle of 2012, but if more came in it could keep production going until 2013 when the new S-class was due.

He said two or three additional S-class variants were being planned for the new series that will replace the current fourth-generation W221 model introduced in 2006.

According to European reports, one of those models will be a super-stretched S600 Pullman limousine that will take over the Daimler flagship role in place of a new-generation Maybach that had been due in 2014.

German newspaper Allgemeine Zeitung quoted Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche as saying the company had come to the conclusion that the sales chances for the Mercedes brand were better than that of Maybach.

“It would not make sense to develop a successor model (for Maybach),” Mr Zetsche said.

“The coming S-class is in such a way a superior vehicle that it can replace the Maybach.”

Daimler had toyed with a proposal to enter into a joint venture with Aston Martin for the next Maybach, but that project was killed earlier this year.

While Maybach’s 5735mm ‘short-wheelbase’ 57 and 6170mm long-wheelbase 62 variants are based on the third-generation S-class platform, they are said to take weeks to build by hand, instead of days like the S-class.

The limos – especially the 62 – are designed for chauffeured travel, with everything that opens and shuts for both comfort and convenience in the rear seat.

Features include 14-way powered rear seats, electric rear sunshade, 21-speaker sound system, heated cupholders and wireless mobile phone link.

And, while the massive 2700kg bulk of the Maybach would indicate sloth, the sportiest 62 S version can belt from zero to 100km/h in a Porsche-like 4.5 seconds, thanks to its 456kW twin-turbo Mercedes 5.5-litre V12.

European reports say the new S-class will have about six variants in three wheelbase lengths, with a target of boosting sales by 10,000 units a year to around 80,000.

The original Maybach was founded in 1909 by former Daimler technical director Wilhelm Maybach to make engines for Zeppelin airships.

Its first car – a top-end luxury limousine – appeared in 1921.

Production continued until World War 2, when Maybach turned to making engines for German tanks.

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