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Maybach to cease as a brand by 2013

By Rigval on 08 Dec 2011

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And the mighty Maybach has fallen. After much deliberation and deep thought, the management of Daimler AG, better known for their Mercedes Benz vehicles, had decided to axe the ultra luxury car brand. Daimler AG had made the announcement at the end of November that Maybach would cease to produce cars by 2013. This is by no means a surprise as the brand was hardly making any sales anywhere.

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Way back in 1997 when the Maybach brand was launched (again after vehicle sales stopped in 1940) the company was ambitious. They predicted annual sales of 2,000 units globally from an ultra luxury brand that prices started at over USD$300,000. They believed that there was a market for another ultra luxury car brand in the likes of Bentley and Rolls Royce. It could be true, but no one actually wanted a tarted up Mercedes Benz S-Class with the ‘double M’ badge.

This fact was confirmed as not many famous people bought a Maybach (Simon Cowell, the Sultan of Brunei as well as some other royalty aside). By 2007 Daimler had to buy back a whole lot of Maybach dealers who were almost dead over the the United States. They were overambitious in their sales targets. One good example of their over ambition was the fact that Maybach opened up more than four Maybach dealerships in Chicago. This happened in a city where Bentley and Rolls Royce had only two sales outlets and sold only 60 or so cars from that two outlets in that particular year. Imagine trying to sell 60 Maybachs in 6 outlets. The outlets could hardly break even. Opening up more sales points does not mean more sales, especially to the high end crowd.

By October 2011, Maybach had only sold 44 units of various Maybachs in the United States whereas Bentley and Rolls Royce sales were easily triple that. Again, which rich person is going to spend a cool half a million dollars in a Mercedes Benz that basically has a two tone paintjob and one with a funny looking ‘Double-M’ badge? So by the end of November 2011, Daimler AG has decided that it has had enough and has thrown in the towel.

I have stated earlier before that the main reason for the sales flop is the fact that it basically looks too much like any Mercedes Benz S-Class. It should have been more ‘blinged’ out and over the top. Daimler had thought of throwing more money and designing a totally new Maybach from scratch and there were also talks with Aston Martin to engineer and style the next generation of Maybachs. Of course we now know that those talks have failed. Throwing more money into a sinking ship is worthless. If it were true, they would have made the Exelero concept car pictured below. Instead Daimler has decided to make a Mercedes Benz S-class Pullman, a long wheel base S-class to take over the spot that Maybach will leave vacant.

So aside from looking like a Mercedes Benz S-class with too much make-up on as well as being overambitious, Maybach did not have much presence and heritage to flaunt around. Rolls Royce, Bentley, Ferrari, Aston Martin and other luxury marques were famous for their bespoke cars because lots of famous people traveled in them. When it came to Maybachs no one outside of Germany knew what a Maybach was. The only really truly (in)famous person who rode around in a Maybach prior to 1997 was Adolf Hitler, which isn’t someone who you’d want to endorse your products. What would the marketing be? “Buy a Maybach, feel a dictator that killed millions”. Thank God Maybach is no more. They may have had to resort to that type of marketing campaign as a last resort.

Anyway, the upcoming death of Maybach will not affect most of us throughout the world and many will not shed any tears. And that is all there is to say about that.

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

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