By on March 15, 2010

Remember Maybach? With eight years and untold millions now spent in a futile attempt to dethrone Rolls-Royce at the tope of the automotive pecking order, it seems that the monument to Daimler’s arrogance and greed will be going the way of Pontiac and HUMMER. Auto Express reports that

The firm plans to launch mildly facelifted versions of its three-model line-up – with new grilles and LED lights likely to be the only changes – before the marque is allowed to slip away.

Bosses have now privately admitted plans to wind down the brand – resurrected in 2002 – due to disappointing sales. The Maybach decision is part of Mercedes’ wider plans to take the next-generation S-Class upmarket.

Will there be any tears for the world’s most pimped-out S-Class? Of course not. Despite actively courting celebrities, and later, actually marketing the brand, Daimler was never able to break its super-luxe brand into the stratosphere of household-name luxury. At least not for more than a few months during relatively go-go economic times. As we recently noted, the experiment has conclusively failed. Maybach has nowhere to go but the ash heap of history. If we ever miss it too much, we’ll be sure to buy a brand-new, fully-loaded S-Class and take it to the least-tasteful tuner we can find.

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19 Comments on “Requiem For A Dream: Maybach To Fold After One Last Facelift...”


  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    It never made sense. Rolls Royce and Bentley may have shifted owners and missions, but people still know what they are. Those brands still have meaning.

    Making a super S-class and slapping the Maybach name on it and asking people to equate the car with the Phantom or the Mulsanne doesn’t work. It would be the same outcome if Audi created a super A8 and put the Horch name on it. Only a few Auto Union geeks would even know what a Horch was.

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      So… what’s a Horch?

    • 0 avatar

      The problem with the Maybach is that its got the old S-class 500 interior and costs over $300,000.

      With the S550 and S600 available, there is no need at all for a Maybach. Its styling is so mute compared to the new S-classes that nobody is even gonna notice it short of a person who really pays attention to rap videos. And then again, most of them would perfer a Phantom.

      An S600 with rear seat package blows this thing away.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Is it just me or does a Maybach look exactly like a Hyundai XG350L? The sad thing is that the Hyundai came first. WTF was Mercedes thinking?

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      Totally agreed. I simply cannot figure out what was going on in the minds of people who approved that design.

      People harp on the Crosstour, which is ugly, but nowhere near as abysmally, horrifically ugly as that Maybach.

    • 0 avatar
      DangerousDave

      My exact thought when I first saw the Maybach, “It looks like an overgrown Hyundai”.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    No wonder an epic fail, since “Daimler was never able to break its super-luxe brand into the stratosphere of household-name luxury” is an epic contradiction in terms.

    BTW, what kind of dream? A full-blown Shrempp on the crack-pipe, popping-his secretary, dumping-his-wife, having a middle-age crisis, wearing goofy square-lensed glasses, doing the comb-over, buying companies before breakfast and wrecking them before lunch, burning 60G USD in share-holder value on Chrysler, type dream possibly? In comparison to that Mayback was more like a fitful nap.

  • avatar
    tced2

    Daimler has a sterling reputation at the ends of the auto spectrum.
    Maybach for the ultra-rich is a failure.
    Chrysler division for the ordinary folks is a failure.
    Just because you know how to make good $60k cars (a debatable point) doesn’t mean you know how to do $200k or $20k ones.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I like my Smart, but if the goal is to make money, rather than to have me as a mostly-satisfied customer, then Smart was a big flop too.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      If no money is made eventually they eventually go bankrupt. Now they can choose to funnel money from a moneymaking area but it cuts into their return. Their investors (Middle East) want returns.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    There are a lot of reasons to spend a lot of money on a car. As far as I know, however (not having a lot of money, but thinking it through), there are no reasons to spend a lot of money on a really ugly car.

  • avatar

    The primary reason why the Maybach failed (besides hubris) in the market was styling. Mercedes failed to distinguish it visually from the S Class and then after the CLS came out, the Maybach looked positively dated since the new S Class picked up styling cues from the CLS. Also, from a technological standpoint, there’s little to distinguish the Maybachs from the high end Mercs. Less than distinctive styling combined with nothing really special mechanicals leaves you with trim and build quality and everyone already knows that the Brits are where it’s at in terms of burls and grains.

    Whereas the Brits (well, quasi Brits) at Bentley and R-R can rely on brand heritage of extreme levels of craftsmanship and luxury, trying to revive a luxury brand from the 1920s isn’t going to work. Besides, M-B is iconic for having built cars that felt like they were carved from solid metal. All that walnut and leather just seems out of place amidst Teutonic efficiency.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Maybach and Smart both belong on the long list a reasons why a Daimler Death Watch series is so long overdue. Both were bad ideas from the get go. Why should there be any car too luxurious to carry the Mercedes Benz name proudly?

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Agreed. The most expensive S class is approaching $200k. For that kind of money, MB should deliver a car better than the Phantom in every regard. The much larger scale of production and sales should materialize somehow, right?

      Instead their S class isn’t as reliable as the LS, and they reach down to lowly A and B classes that’s notches below an IS. MB has no appeal to me.

  • avatar
    Dr Strangelove

    MB has made lots of mistakes, but a death watch is way premature. As we say in German, Totgesagte leben laenger – those that are pronounced dead, live on.

  • avatar
    jimboy

    Sadly, German engineering arrogance, not excellence, is what drives Daimler these days. That piece of ???? should never have been built.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    Even in the good old days, Grosser 600 were never any threat to RRs.
    And with the Maybach copied from S550 – 600 how any folks will pony another 200 grand?

    Merc’s share holder are not willing to use good money to chase after bad to sink more mulla in for another new model.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    The original concept of building an ultra luxury car with superior dynamics made sense but the execution failed miserably and even more so as time went on. Plus the fact that RR is a household name and Bentley is just about one while Maybach was known only to enthusiasts and those knowledgeable about the auto industry.

  • avatar
    The Gold Tooth

    MB and VW made the same mistake, but in opposite ways.

    Instead of launching Maybach as a new car division, MB should simply have marketed its vehicles as above-the-S-Class MBs. Instead of launching the Phaeton as a VW it should have been launched as the first product of a new, superior class car division (vide Lexus, etc.).


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