On Tuesday, Ola Källenius, the sales director of carmaker Daimler, owner of Mercedes, presented an astonishing idea to the public. The company intends to revive the luxury brand Maybach — yet again! A new Mercedes-Maybach will be introduced in China and the U.S. this month.
The brand recalls the legendary engineer who was a friend of Gottlieb Daimler. From 1921 to 1941, Wilhelm Maybach and his son built around 1,800 luxury cars, considered to be unrivaled in Germany. Customers included kings, maharajas and VIPs such as Marlene Dietrich and Max Schmeling, along with many industrialists.
This is not the first attempt to reanimate the brand. In 2002, Daimler resumed production of the Maybach after a 60-year pause. With a unit price of around half a million euros, however, the model was too expensive: a grand total of 3,200 vehicles were sold. The excursion into the supercar segment proved to be a financial disaster, and chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche pulled the plug in 2012. At that time, he said that Daimler intended to cover the luxury segment with its Mercedes S-class.
But the name “Maybach” was simply too seductive to be completely forgotten, even if it is being brought back on the cheap. Mr. Källenius has made it clear that the new Maybach will be latched onto the S-class and that no new line of automobiles will be developed; an existing series will simply be enhanced.