Choose Your Maybach Adventure: Three Strategies On The Table

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
choose your maybach adventure three strategies on the table

The sad story of Maybach’s mini boom-and-bust, reborn in the go-go 90s only to die in the “Great Recession,” may not have the tidy ending we’ve been expecting for years now. Yes, Automotive News Europe [sub] reports that death is one of the three official options for the Maybach brand… and it’s certainly the option I’d pick. But if Daimler didn’t want to hold onto the plutocratic appeal of its zombie brand, Maybach would have died with a little dignity some time ago. And remember, the decline of Maybach is not the result of a decline in the über-luxury market… R olls-Royce is selling cars hand-over-fist.

Accordingly, Daimler is exploring two “death alternatives” for Maybach: One, is rebuilding the brand in partnership with Aston-Martin, the other is relegating Maybach to a range-topping trim level. Aston has reportedly built four concepts on the next-gen S-Class chassis, so a new lineup is a real possibility, but then turning Maybach into “the AMG of Luxury,” and offering high-end trim for the S, GL and CL models would be cheaper and possibly even more profitable. And of course there’s always the eternal option: death. Which strategy would you suggest to Daimler before spending your giant consultants fee on a Rolls-Royce Ghost?

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4 of 23 comments
  • Mtymsi Mtymsi on Jun 19, 2011

    Besides the current Maybach models which are dismal failures the other big problem the Maybach name has is it lacks the panache of RR & Bentley. Diamler probably due in large part to the cars themselves has never been able to position Maybach in the league of RR & Bentley. Everyone knows what a RR is and I suspect most are familiar with Bentley as well. Maybach? More like Maywhat? In fact, I remember reading a while back about IIRC Jenifer Lopez sending a Maybach back and requesting a RR in London. When you have that level of image problem with Maybach there is an enormous amount of ground to cover to position the brand. If Diamler is determined to try and get Maybach off the ground the affiliation with Aston Martin is probably the best bet. It's definitely a case of if they killed the brand tomorrow who would care?

  • Gasser Gasser on Jun 19, 2011

    The name never conveyed the cachet that Mercedes hoped it would. Maybach or Mayberry is all the same here in USA. Also the car was never visually differentiated enough from the big S sedans to command the huge price premium. Mercedes can probably still sell Maybach as an option on the large S sedans using the over the top seating and rear seat amenities. For sure, the Rolls does NOT compete with Maybach, Aston Martin or Bentley on performance, so more horsepower and sharper handling won't help move these barges off the show room floor.

  • Tstag Tstag on Jun 20, 2011

    JLR kept the right to use the Daimler brand on cars. They only allowed Mercedes to call itself Daimler as a company. Mercedes can't actually make any cars using that brand. TATA have said they may use the Daimler brand themselves.

  • Tom Tom on Jun 20, 2011

    Unfortunately, my post from yesterday somehow got lost, so here we go again. The least desirable strategy would be to turn Maybach into a trim level. That would cheapen the regular Mercedes brand. A quick death would certainly better. However, I'd give the Maybach brand another go as the major problem I see are the terrible looks of the car. For that restart, I see four routes: 1) Aston could try to come up with a good looking design based on the current car. Usually that would be the way to go, because once you establish a brand identity, you shouldn't deviate from that too radically, especially in the premium market. However, in the case of Maybach that seems to be utterly impossible given the ugliness, plus the design was too close to Mercedes to begin with, it needs to be distinct. 2) Daimler could go for a big, bulky design that is inspired by the Maybach cars of old.This is like the direction BMW has taken with Rolls Royce. That would be the safest way IMHO, as Oil Sheikhs and Hip-Hop millionaires totally love that style. 3) Daimler could also go for a completely fresh and modern design. That would of course be risky. Aston has already had one try with the Lagonda concept of 2009 and it was a massive miss. Then again, Aston's regular lineup is proof that they can design handsome cars. 4) They could go for something in between modern and retro, like VW did with Bentley. Again it could work, but again it's risky as it could easily end up being bland. Given that Aston has designed four prototypes, maybe they also went along those four basic routes...