By any measure, Mercedes-Benz’s attempt to crack the ultra-luxury market failed. The Maybach failed to achieve its sales goals and come anywhere close to Bentley or Rolls-Royce.
There are many reasons to speculate about why it didn’t do well – such as basically starting scratch with the name and a too-close similarity to the S-Class. However, the question now is what to do moving forward. If at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again right? The decision on whether or not to try again is going on at Mercedes right now, and apparently one of the possibilities has just been ruled out.
Mercedes was discussing a partnership with Aston Martin that would include developing an all-new super luxury sedan. The new sedan would be based on the next-generation 2013 S-Class (again) and produced at Aston’s factory in Gaydon, England. In return, Aston Martin would secure the use of Mercedes engines as well as platforms for its upcoming Lagonda brand.
German magazinereports that these talks have fallen apart, because Aston apparently is requiring too much. We weren’t too sure what Mercedes was thinking in the first place anyway – the deal seemed better for Aston Martin. Not that Aston doesn’t have name cachet, developmental prowess and the ability to design some of the world’s most beautiful automobiles (it certainly does). However, aside from design what could Aston bring to the table that Mercedes couldn’t? Regardless, the talks appear to have reached a dead end. That leaves Mercedes with the decision to either close the brand, or continue development in-house.
Closing Maybach would be a stinging admission of corporate defeat that seems quite unlike Mercedes. Financially it would make sense if the ultra-luxury market could be cracked as well; there are new opportunities for it opening up in countries like China. For what it’s worth, AM&S says the decision has been made to develop the next-generation Maybachs in-house again. Hopefully official confirmation isn’t too far around the corner about what is really going on.