Mercedes has big plans: what’s going on with Maybach

Mercedes plans to relaunch the ultralux brand Maybach with an unrestricted stylistic approach to attract the ultra-rich.

Maybach has big plans for the maximalist limousines it has occasionally made over the last 113 years, a line that now includes the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class and the Mercedes-Maybach GLS.

There is the two-tone Mercedes-Maybach S680 sedan developed by Virgil Abloh, the late Louis Vuitton men’s headwear, which will go on sale globally later this year with a limited range of 150 units. Also by Abloh, in collaboration with Gorden Wagener, the design director of the Mercedes group: the off-road electric concept called Project Maybach.

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Maybach’s “Haute Voiture” concept, unveiled on May 18, promises curled door panels reminiscent of Chanel suits and a launch date next year. A Mercedes-Maybach electric SUV will follow soon. There is also a new business plan at Mercedes-Benz that focuses on state-of-the-art vehicles with a higher margin, such as those in the Maybach division, which has a young executive just fresh just months away. his mandate.

With all this excitement, Maybach, it seems, could be ready for a rebirth.

“There has been a restart,” Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Kallenius said in a May 18 interview in Monaco. “This is the rejuvenation of the Maybach brand.”

A new attempt

Named after Wilhelm Maybach, a prolific engine designer and one of Gottlieb Daimler’s first collaborators, and founded with his son Karl in 1909, Maybach became synonymous with speed, power and prestige at the time. Until 1921, it produced cars such as the five-meter-long Maybach 22/70 hp W3 and the opulent Maybach SW 42, which featured such new features as power-operated windows.

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In 1960, Daimler-Benz AG acquired Maybach Motorenbau GmbH mainly to own the rights to the engines.

In 2011, Daimler announced that it would sell the remaining models, effectively reassuring Maybach for the time being. The two-color salons have gone into a long hibernation due to their relevance, as Jay-Z and Kanye West presented a Maybach 57 from 2004 dismantled in the video for their song “Otis” in 2011.

Mercedes has revived the Maybach badge at the 2014 Los Angeles Motor Show with the new Mercedes-Maybach nameplate, essentially a rebranded version of the iconic Mercedes S600 sedan. These modern Mercedes-Maybach vehicles are designed primarily for driver travel and have come so densely into the comfort of creatures that they feel closer to the business suite of a private jet than to a car.

Since then, sales have grown steadily. Last year, Mercedes-Maybach sold 15,730 units worldwide, up 50% from 2020 and boosted mainly by China, where its cars are selling at a rate of over 900 per month.

Shock tactics

Maybach says he has a plan to conjure up something that will appeal to the ultra-rich.

“Maybach’s goal is not to produce new models even every year,” says Kallenius. “It simply came to our notice then. Smaller volume, demanding customers. From time to time, we will sprinkle the Maybach brand on some products. “

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The shock comes as much from the size and price of the vehicle as from all the additional cosmetic and personalization options available. A Mercedes-Maybach S-Class starts at $ 185,000 – $ 74,000 more than a regular S-Class. And it’s bigger. Maybach sedans offer an 18 cm longer wheelbase than the standard S-Class.

“Maybach wants to express wealth by his footprint, how big the object is,” says Frank Stephenson, a Moroccan-born American car designer who has worked for BMW, Mini, Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo and McLaren.

Undoubtedly, such enthusiasm helps to ensure that cars attract Chinese buyers, who tend to pay for more extravagant models and are much younger and richer than consumers of Mercedes vehicles.

“The Chinese market is a younger market that doesn’t shy away from showing off its wealth, and Maybach certainly does,” says Stephenson.

“China is the largest car market in the world. And it is also the largest luxury car market in the world. And, of course, it’s the biggest Maybach market in the world, “says Kallenius.

“But the United States is very important. Western Europe is important. Korea is important. Japan is important. The Middle East is, of course, important. There are other markets around the world that crave the same type of vehicle. ”

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