Though Daimler shuttered its Maybach ultra-luxury brand, it isn’t giving up on selling cars in the $200,000+ price range. With the $470,000 Maybach, Mercedes-Benz tried to compete with ne plus ultra cars like the Bentley Mulsanne and Rolls Royce Phantom. In the ten years that the Maybach was produced, Daimler sold about 3,000 of them, about how many Phantoms Rolls-Royce sells in a year.
Fans of the Maybach brand are suffering through a dark day today; the brand was officially taken off Mercedes’ press website this week, with the word “discontinued” slapped next to the venerable re-badged W140 cars.
Let’s be clear about one thing: racism sucks. Be it the recent, tragic temple shooting or some BS you experienced when doing/not doing what your culture demands, this is a fact of life. That said, geo-cultural influences are everywhere, including the car design biz. Take my time at CCS: one of my classmates was a South Korean lawyer who wanted to style cars for Hyundai. His work was unique amongst all studio creations, reflecting a culture that’s borderline impossible to understand by the uninitiated. Which is damn near every college kid.
This person’s work reminded me how culture influences design, and how people can negatively react to it. Which leads us to a flagship Mercedes heavily(?) influenced by a Mercedes design studio in Japan. Yes, Japan. So let’s get to it. (Read More…)
Jay-Z may have been the biggest celebrity booster (certainly TTAC wasn’t) of the Maybach line, but the brand’s demise is going to leave Hov high and dry for new wheels. So will Hov go back to the Lexus GS that he started out with? Probably not. It’s up to the Best and Brightest to determine what will take Maybach’s place in the whip game. Perhaps something British?
Are you the King of Spain, the Sultan of Brunai, Jay-Z, or the Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich? Check your mailbox. Volkswagen’s Bentley has sent you mail. Bentley wants to grieve with you over the passing of your beloved Maybach brand, and then, in a tasteful way, hopes will be expressed that your next car will be a Bentley.
Whenever I mention Daimler’s Über-Benz Maybach, even people in the know often remark: “Haven’t they stopped making them a while ago?” No, they have not. But they might. Or not. (Read More…)
Having already informed the motor press that its Maybach brand will be making a long-overdue exit from the retail market, Daimler is getting all Weekend At Bernies about the failed super-premium marque. Instead of selling the Maybach name to an upstart Chinese firm, or developing an all-new model, Daimler has decided to keep the brand on life support in a more cynical fashion than even we could have anticipated: hiring an outside firm to develop a two-door version of its 57S sedan.
We all knew this day was coming. We knew that Maybach would receive one final facelift before disappearing in a puff of garish pretentiousness. And really, we should have been prepared for this last aesthetic update to live up to the Maybach brand’s already-high standards for tastelessness. But could anything have prepared us for this Hyundai Equus-grille’d monstrosity? All of a sudden, the new Phaeton’s terminal subtlety is looking a lot better. After all, would you rather your plutocrat’s chariot be mistaken for a Passat, or a pimp-my-ride nightmare? [via automotorundsport.de]
Despite rumors of Maybach’s imminent demise, or, even more shocking, a sell-off to China’s BYD (a rumor that had been debunked the next day) Maybach is alive and well. Why, we don’t know. But anyway, Maybach will introduce a facelifted model at the upcoming Beijing Auto Show. The car is already in town. (Read More…)
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: (Read More…)
Chinese site auto.sina.com [via thetycho.com] has a belly-laugher of a wild-ass rumor: they say BYD has its eye on Daimler’s zombie luxury brand Maybach. The rumor is clearly based on the fact that BYD and Daimler recently closed a cooperation deal, in which they will jointly build vehicles in China for sale under a new brand name. But beyond that, there’s not much to go on. From what I can tell from the Google Translate version of the story, auto.sina.com seems to have an anonymous source in BYD that on March 23 divulged:
BYD is on the matter and approached Daimler, Daimler announced soon abandoned the brand, BYD Auto will soon be underway acquisition action.
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.
To paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, the Maybach experiment was a conspiracy between Daimler and the rich to make the rest of us feel smart. The ultimate zombie brand, exhumed during the go-go nineties as a way for Daimler to charge even more for a stretched S Class, has now fallen on troubled times. And now, according to the ever-trusty limobroker.co.uk, none other than Mariah Carey has put the Maybach seemingly irrevocably in its place:
Initially a top class Mercedes complete with a chauffeur was sent to take Mariah to the studios, but this wasn’t deemed exclusive enough for a star of Mariah’s stature and was then replaced by a £250,000 Mercedes Maybach. However the Maybach limo was also rejected and then, third-time-lucky, a Rolls Royce Phantom was dispatched.