High ranking Mercedes-Benz sources have confirmed that the under-performing Maybach brand will officially be killed off in 2013.
The decision to disband Mercedes-Benz’s upper luxury marque comes after lacklustre sales of the company’s existing 57 and 62 limousines and a recent decision from chairman Dieter Zetsche not to push ahead with the development of replacement models, the likes of which were tentatively due out in 2014.
Mercedes-Benz chief executive Dieter Zetsche confirmed the news to Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: “It would not be sensible to develop a successor model for the current Maybach. We have had full discussions within the company about which path in the luxury segment was the most promising. And we came to the clear conclusions that the sales chances for the Mercedes brand were better than Maybach’s.”
Moves to push Mercedes-Benz further upmarket into the segment follows an internal marketing study which came to the conclusion that it has more potential to succeed in the upper luxury segment against competition from the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce than Maybach, which despite being revered at home in Germany failed to gain traction in key world markets.
A company insider said: "We’ve come to the conclusion that it is better to cut our losses with Maybach than to continue into an uncertain future with a brand that has failed to live up to original sales expectations. Plans are already in place to fill the void left by the axing of the Maybach 57 and 62 with the next-generation S-class, which will be offered in three wheelbase variations, including a top-of-the-range S600 Pullman."
Despite the plan to dump Maybach, both the existing 57 and 62 will be produced through to early 2013, at which point the fifth-generation S-class is due to be introduced.
The Maybach brand was resurrected by Mercedes-Benz in 2002 following its failure to purchase Rolls-Royce and Bentley from then owner Vickers after being outbid by Volkswagen, which then ceded control of Rolls-Royce to BMW.
The original Maybach models, the 57 and 62, were named after their respective lengths of 5735mm and 6170mm. Both were based around stretched underpinnings of the already superceded third-generation S-class, first introduced in 1991.
A recent proposal to involve Aston Martin in the development of future Maybach models was abandoned in early 2011.