By on July 29, 2013


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.

The German automaker is still going after those brands, but at a lower price point. Starting in 2015, the so-called ‘Super S Class’, as it is known internally, will instead compete with the Rolls-Royce Ghost and the Bentley Flying Spur, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said in an interview with Automotive News.  Currently, M-B’s most expensive cars are its higher performance AMG models, which can run close to $200K, and Zetsche says that the new sedan will give the company a larger market share in that price segment independent of AMG branded cars.

One of the complaints about the Maybach was that it was not perceived as being sufficiently different from the S Class cars to justify the large price differential. Zetsche said that the new car will have exclusive technology and interior appointments to differentiate it from regular S Class models. Since all automaker in the segment do it, it is likely that some kind of personalization program, for ‘off the menu’ options, will be offered. Zetsche also said that the company will have a “much better cost basis” for the new high end car, compared to the Maybach.

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28 Comments on “Daimler Not Giving Up On Going After Rolls-Royce and Bentley, New “Super S Class” to Go On Sale in 2015...”

  • avatar

    “Zetsche said that the new car will have exclusive technology and interior appointments to differentiate it from regular S Class models.”

    But it won’t have any unique exterior features, it sounds like. That’s part of what killed Maybach; at a casual glance, it was indistinguishable from the old S-Class. A car in this class needs to be uniquely and recognizably bodied. Buyers with this kind of money want something that’s instantly recognizable as a super-premium product. The Bentley Continental might be mechanically indistinguishable from the VW Phaeton but it’s instantly recognizable as a Bentley.

    • 0 avatar

      “The Bentley Continental might be mechanically indistinguishable from the VW Phaeton but it’s instantly recognizable as a Bentley.”

      Not only is a Bentley Continental instantly recognizable as a Bentley, the Bentley brand itself is well known thanks to its near 100 year uninterrupted run as “coachbuilders to gentry”.

      Until its recent revival, Maybach hadn’t sold cars under its name since around the end of the second world war – so most people had no idea of what the brand stood for, or if they did (and at the risk of being accused of proving Godwin’s Law), they associated it with the German bigwigs riding in big touring cars in World War Two.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. I think the failure of the Maybach was due to its poor styling. When I first saw it my thought was it looked like a stretched Kia. A car in this class must be immediately recognizable as a unique and stylish ride, a tarted up S class isn’t going to command the premium they are expecting. People looking for a car in this class want you to know they are driving something special. Joe Blow cruising his Ford Focus down the road instantly recognizes a Rolls or Bentley as something special. If this thing looks like an S, its just another Mercedes, ho hum.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        By 2007, one could have better and more-current accouterments in the much-cheaper S-Class than in one of the Maybach models. Also, Maybach really only sold one vehicle…in long and short wheelbases. There was no coupe, no volume model…nothing to make it a full lineup.

        And yes, they were gaudy.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      There actually is a lot that’s different between the Phaeton and the Continental/Flying Spur, but when it comes down to the bones of the two vehicles, they are basically the same.

      I think there actually might be a market for people who want an ultraluxury vehicle, but who don’t want the attention and ostentatiousness that comes with a car decorated by a “Winged-B” or “Spirit of Ecstasy” hood figure. Whether or not that market is large enough for Daimler to even bother with is quite another issue…

  • avatar

    The only tidbit of this story that even faintly interests me is how this development will again test how stupid the ‘stupid-rich’ are. Like a TMZ auto journalism topic. Any of these cars are still just $25-50k in parts, and the rest is a bit of labor, capital, and a ton of pure profit. Jeez. Look at me! Look at me! I’m driving $400k in pure profit!

    • 0 avatar

      And do you think the “stupid-rich” are so stupid that they don’t get that? The thing is, they don’t care! They see it, they want it, they buy it. When they’re done with it, they sell it, and they move on to the next expensive thing.

    • 0 avatar

      What is slightly more distressing is that MB continues to perceive this niche of conspicuous consumers as a reliable revenue source to base a good chunk of the company’s direction on.

  • avatar

    Here’s hoping they don’t call it the SS Class.

  • avatar

    Mercedes Benz S-Class Regency Brougham LS.

  • avatar

    “Zetsche said that the new car will have exclusive technology and interior appointments to differentiate it from regular S Class models.”

    I’d rather be reading that the new car will eschew hyper-technology, in favor of materials that are second to none, and assembly that reeks of old-world craftsmanship.

  • avatar

    3,000 cars is not 3,000 Phantoms.

    TTAC has fallen.

  • avatar

    I guess any of the prestigious manufacturers could improve sales by making a car that is not hideously ugly.

  • avatar

    There is simply not enough profit to be made in this tiny market. It’s only for the CEO’s ego. If MB is really good, why not build an S class that can beat Lexus LS and BMW 7? Right now the S doesn’t have any advantage in the US market.

    • 0 avatar

      The current S Class which is at the very end of its life cycle is still beating both cars you mentioned, which is poignant especially regarding the LS which is vastly cheaper than the S and still can’t outsell it. The new S will utterly destroy its competition when it is released in a few months.

      There are these things called facts and numbers, you might want to look them up and use them before you comment next time.

      It’s still selling double the amount of A8s too if you were wondering.

      • 0 avatar

        Over the 10 years of Maybach production(that’s the context of this debate, i.e. MB can’t build a vastly superior S class and thus had to use different label), Lexus LS occupied the most top sales spots.

        Even for 2012, the S class beat BMW 7 by 700 units only (11,794 vs 11,098). The difference is purely market noise. No one could tell which car is superior just by looking at the figures.

        Yeah, there is the end of cycle blah blah. Just FYI, Lexus sold 35,226 LS in the US in 2007. That’s the first full year of 4th gen, there has only been minor updates since then, i.e. no 5th gen yet. Will the new S reach 30k+ in the US in the coming year? I don’t believe it until I see it.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    It will have two hood ornaments when all the other luxury autos make do with just one.

  • avatar

    Don’t underestimate the importance of this move. As Mercedes continues to move down market in the name of volume they are going to need something to maintain the exclusivity of the brand to hold prices up. In detroitspeak this would be a “halo car”.

    I drove by a Mercedes dealer in Columbus GA and noticed they had numbers with the price stuck to the windshield and balloons attached to the cars like any screaming Kia dealer. This is not your father’s Benz.

    While the volume move will work in the short term, in the long term they won’t be able to hold prices up years down the line. Younger people are going to remember riding in unremarkable cars that spent a lot of time in the service bay and shop elsewhere. A car like this, done properly can spawn a brand that is loyal to the values of the core Mercedes customer. This of course assumes it is done right and not simply a means to mark up an existing vehicle astronomically. The comments of Dr. Z are not encouraging in this respect.

    • 0 avatar

      mkirk –

      Don’t disagree with the analysis, but MB does not have much choice. Of the German three, Daimler is probably in the weakest position to survive a major economic disruption/downturn/sudden change in consumer tastes. Now, don’t take that to mean I think MB is in a do or die situation or is close to death. Far from it. But from a business standpoint they don’t have much corporate padding to help like Audi, or to a lesser extent BMW.

  • avatar

    Historians say the British “Royals” are largely German, as are Rolls and Bentley.

    Maybe Daimler should buy back the rights to Daimler:

    “England’s oldest car marque.”

    Ford gets into vibrators:

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