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Maybach is dead - Zetsche closes Merc's upmarket wing

By Tim Pollard

Motor Industry

25 November 2011 17:20

Daimler is to announce the closure of Maybach, marking the failure of its upmarket division resurrected to battle BMW's Rolls-Royce and VW's Bentley subsidiaries.

Chief exec Dieter Zetsche will tomorrow (Saturday 26 November) announce he's lost patience with Maybach in an interview with a weekend newspaper in Germany. No more Maybachs will be developed and stocks will deplete by later in 2012.

So Maybach's not been a success?

Far from it. Daimler has sold just 180 Maybachs year to date worldwide in 2011. The brand never took off in the way Mercedes hoped. Maybach sales never rose anywhere near four figures.

As revealed by CAR, Daimler had talked to Britain's Aston Martin over possible collaborations to co-sponsor a next generation of Maybachs beyond today's 57 and 62.

But those talks came to nought. From this weekend, Maybach will officially be dead. The numbers simply didn't stack up to warrant investment in a new platform.

What next for posh Mercedes?

Sounds like Merc will develop a new suite of top-end models spun from the next S-class range. Our European editor Georg Kacher reports that Merc plans the following models:

. A LWB S-class
. An XLWB S-class aimed at US/China
. A hyper-smart Pullman rebodied S-class
. New CL coupe
. New CL four-seater convertible

Mid-cycle, it also plans a four-door coupe based on the S-class architecture, but this wouldn't land until 2016.

Georg Kacher on Maybach's failure

CAR's seasoned industry watcher said Maybach never stood a chance against the better known Rolls-Royce and Bentley brands.

'Maybach is by far the weakest brand in that segment and the 57 and 62 reflected Mercedes' design weaknesses at the time,' he said. 'They might have been aimed at Asia, but what about the rest of the world?

'They also used S-class underpinnings at least a generation out of date. It's no wonder they didn't sell - the modern Maybachs were never special enough.'

A spokeswoman at Merc declined to comment ahead of tomorrow's announcement.