Maybach Decision Imminent: Aston Martin Or Die

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
maybach decision imminent aston martin or die

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.

By June 30, Daimler will decide what to do with Maybach, CEO Dieter Zetsche told Automotive News Europe. If they find a partner, they’ll keep Maybach. If not, Maybach will be history – again. Between 1921 and 1940, the company made the opulent cars favored by stars and dictators. The brand lingered on unused while owned by engine maker MTU. MTU was bought by Daimler. In 2002, the brand was revived.

Confirming longstanding rumors, Zetsche finally said that Daimler has been in talking to Aston Martin about development and production of a next-gen Maybach.

“There is a higher likelihood to come to a positive decision” for a second-generation Maybach sedan if a partner is involved, Zetsche said.

According to Automobilwoche, Zetsche opined that spending a billion dollar to develop the Maybach was “not a good investment for a low volume car.” And that’s putting it charitably. Automobilwoche pegs worldwide Maybach sales in 2010 at 157 units. Initial estimates had projected 1,500 units per year.

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  • Hreardon Hreardon on Jun 13, 2011

    The problem with Maybach, beyond its horrible styling, is that of the ultra-luxury brands, it is definitely the one with the least cachet in the 21st century. Volkswagen knew what it was doing with Bugatti, another fairly unknown brand: they built the biggest, baddest, fastest machine on the planet and knew that it was nothing other than a technology testbed and halo product. Sales expectations were set accordingly and Volkswagen succeeded in creating demand through exclusivity. Maybach, on the other hand, is playing against two very well established players in the luxury baller market: Rolls and Bentley. Daimler and Maybach are at a double disadvantage here - poor name recognition and inability to tap into a deep parts bin and take advantage of serious economies of scale. Volkswagen has done a very good job of using its halo marquees as technology development testbeds and also sharing components without watering down the end product. Maybach never really succeeded here, looking like an oversized S-Class without having any class...

  • Tstag Tstag on Jun 13, 2011

    TATA is rumoured to be thinking about relaunching Daimler as a luxury brand. If so that will make this a very crowded market place and arguably Daimler (Mercedes not TATA) will have the weakest brand. Aston are on to a winner this, simply make a good looking traditional English luxury car using Maybach parts. Make an expensive car cheap and sell a load of them. Meanwhile if Mercedes make another large ugly monster they will just lose out.

    • See 1 previous
    • Alwaysinthecar Alwaysinthecar on Jun 15, 2011

      @Robert.Walter Jaguar shares the rights to the Daimler name with Daimler AG. The Jaguar agreed terms from 2007 allow the German company to use the Daimler brand as the title of a trading company, a trade name or a corporate name — rights that it did not hold previously. The renegotiated terms did not affect Jaguar's rights to build Daimler cars. A spokesman for Jaguar said: “The extended usage agreement does not affect either company's existing right to use the Daimler name for a product.”

  • Eldard Eldard on Jun 13, 2011

    Why not just kill the Mayback brand and buy Aston Martin?

  • Obruni Obruni on Jun 14, 2011

    please kill it. kill it with fire.