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Maybach axed months earlier than expected
Mercedes has quietly put its super-luxury Maybach brand to sleep, ten years after resurrecting the marque. Glacially slow sales are to blame, with market intelligence suggesting less than 50 Maybachs were sold in Europe last year.
Mercedes bosses reportedly called time on Maybach production in June this year, according to Automotive News Europe – that’s several months ahead of the scheduled wind-down which was due to coincide with the arrival of the new S-Class in 2013.
The premature decline of Mercedes’ Sindelfingen-built luxury brand leaves it without a rival to VW and BMW’s halo brands, Bentley and Rolls-Royce. Instead, lavishly equipped versions of the new S-Class are expected to fill the void.
Despite the impressive opulence of products like the 5.5-litre V12 twin-turbocharged Maybach 57 and the stretched 62, it’s not hard to understand why Mercedes has surreptitiously pushed its most premium offering off the automotive coil.
Its re-birth in 2002 brought back to life a marque with limited brand equity which struggled to compete against the obvious cachet of Rolls and Bentley. Having suffered its first demise before the Second World War, customers in the super-luxury market have not been easily persuaded to part with circa £300,000 for a relatively unknown brand.
Despite an extensive personalisation programme and gadgetry like electric curtains and fully reclining rear seats, the image was more akin to an S-Class in a very expensive suit. Without sufficient brand gravitas, Mercedes’ ambitions of shifting 1,000 Maybachs per year simply never materialised.
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