By on June 13, 2011

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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23 Comments on “Maybach Decision Imminent: Aston Martin Or Die...”

  • avatar

    I can hardly wait for the Maybach version of the Cygnet!

  • avatar

    The problem with Maybach is that there are only so many third world plutocrats who like to be seen in a hideous looking and hideously over-priced rolling expression of tasteless over-indulgence. It’s like the Trump Tower of automobiles.

  • avatar

    You mean Dirk Digler has one? Bet it’s the looooooong wheelbase version.

  • avatar

    +1 to mjz

    If Daimler had made the Maybachs look great, as opposed to making a Wagon Queen Family Truckster version of a plain old S class, the story may have turned out differently.

    Rolls and Bentley motorcars do not look like Audi or BMW cars.

    • 0 avatar

      I saw one on the road near me accompanied by an S600. I was like (channeling Steve Martin) “Whut the hell is that?” big plug ugly thing. Then I saw the car with it that it was dwarfing was the big S600 and realized it was a Maybach. Tinted windows and a chauffeur, I would guess a baller of some kind.

  • avatar

    I think this is stupid. Daimler can develop its own. It’s not like AM owns the rights to pretty cars, or can do things Daimler can’t.

    Maybach, by Aston-Martin

    Or, alternatively, not. BMW wins again

  • avatar

    …aston martin already owns the other daimler, don’t they?..wouldn’t maybach be redundant?..

    • 0 avatar

      …ah, no, my mistake – daimler motor company is owned by jaguar, not aston martin…regardless, i’ll make the same assertion about lagonda: aston martin already has a high-end luxury nameplate, why bother with maybach?..

  • avatar

    Daimler is really at a disadvantage here in relation to RR and Bentley. Though both of those marks definitely had some lean years and outdated products at times, both enjoyed continuous decades of brand recognition as ultra-luxury vehicles for the extremely wealthy.

    Resurrecting a long-dead and obscure luxury brand was risky enough. Bugatti has come and gone over the years, but still enjoyed enough wide-spread name recognition. The ONLY shot Maybach had was to differentiate themselves with gorgeous design, and they obviously failed miserably.

    Is the Maybach TWICE the car as a loaded S65 sedan? Hardly. Twice as expensive, sure, but also twice as ugly…The sales numbers say it all, and it appears the there are only a few hundred blind billionaires needing new rides each year.

    M-B would do better to resurrect the Pullman name and compete with the lower-end RR market with an uber S-Class.

    • 0 avatar

      Mercedes-Benz already does that. The Pullman is a factory-stretched S600. I believe it’s offered primarily as the S600 Pullman Guard, which means it’s bullet-resistant. Whether that’s ueber enough for you, I’m not sure.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark out West

      Daimler Benz owned this segment back in the 1960s with the W-100/M-100 Grosser 600. Blew Rolls into the weeds with the latest technology at the time. Why they resurrected the Maybach brand is beyond me.

  • avatar

    I agree with some of the commenters that the biggest problem of the Maybach is its hideous looks.
    First of all, it needs a distinct, opulent look (not a koreanified S-Class).
    But I also think that Maybach needs a bigger line-up. They should build a smaller car (and coupe) on the S-Class platform, like VW is doing with Bentley.

    Aston Martin could be a great partner for that…as long as the design is nowhere near that train-wreck of the Lagonda show car from 2009…

  • avatar

    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…

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      How could Tata do that?

      IIRC the Daimler name was sold back to, uh, Daimler when Ford still owned Jag. (Besides, due to the original licensing agreement, Jag-Daimlers were only allowed to be sold in the U.K.)

      • 0 avatar

        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.”

  • avatar

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

  • avatar

    please kill it.

    kill it with fire.

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