The big German luxury automakers all have a high-end super-luxury brand to compete. BMW has Bentley and Volkswagen’s entry is Rolls-Royce.
The two got a hold of these brands after a bidding war – for years Rolls-Royce and Bentley have been under the same roof. Mercedes-Benz’ entry into the segment is the Maybach, introduced over 10 years ago.
Plucking an old German luxury name from obscurity didn’t prove to be the best sales tactic, as the brand’s sales have declined. On the other hand, Bentley has seen strong success with the Continental lineup and Rolls-Royce with the Phantom. The new Ghost is set to further the success for Rolls-Royce, with sales doubling.
With Maybach floundering, there has been a lot of speculation about the brand’s future. Much has been discussed – kill it, develop a new model, or partner with another automaker. Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche says that all options are on the table.
With just 63 units sold in the United States last year, Maybach doesn’t make much of a dent in Daimler’s revenue. It likely is a matter of company embarasmen that Maybach has been unsuccessful though. Corporate pride runs at high at Mercedes and we think it is likely they will give Maybach another chance to succeed.
“The success or failure of Maybach hardly shows up on our results, but it is something I want to have a decision on by year-end. And everything is on the table,” says Zetsche, via Autoblog.
Everything on the table means the possibility of a new model, partnership or even killing off the brand – a notion that is hardly confidence-inspiring to to the well-heeled clientele that spent millions purchasing Maybachs. Regardless, we should be hearing more this year as the company makes a decision.