Yesterday, Chinese site auto.sina.com had what our Ed Niedermeyer called “a belly-laugher of a wild-ass rumor: they say BYD has its eye on Daimler’s zombie luxury brand Maybach.” Funny as it may be, media all over the world jumped on the story. Now, the story is heading right to Snopes. After what must have been a round of heated phone calls between Stuttgart and Shenzhen, Daimler denounced the dumb-ass tale:
“Maybach is an important part of Daimler’s product portfolio. There is no other decision,” a Daimler spokesman said to Reuters. BYD didn’t even feature.
Paul Lin, a spokesman at BYD was similarly dismissive: “It’s not true, it’s market speculation. We got calls from the media and we have checked with Chairman Wang.”
Asked whether BYD had had any initial contact with Daimler on buying Maybach, Paul Lin replied: “No.”
At least we received one piece of hard data out of the story: “Daimler sold just 200 units of the Maybach brand last year,” says Reuters. They didn’t say how many were given away as presents.
Volkswagen sold 4,616 Bentleys in 2009. BMW sold 1002 Rolls Royces.