The Mercedes-Maybach range is set to expand to include a new SUV based on the GLS, Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche has hinted.
The first model in a comeback range for Maybach is a saloon based on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but Zetsche said plans were afoot to turn it into a proper sub-brand for luxury models in the same way that Mercedes launches performance models through AMG.
Although he insisted a final decision had yet to be taken, Zetsche said there were limited bodystyles suited to the launch of such a Maybach model due to its super-luxury nature, but a GL-sized SUV was one of them.
Speaking at the launch of the Mercedes-Maybach S600 earlier this year, S-Class project manager Martin Hulde had already hinted that the Maybach range would expand. “The theory is that we will do more Maybach models," he said. "But it will not be for all vehicles. Any Maybach must make sense, because it is not just about putting an emblem on a car.
“Buyers rightly have high expectations of a Maybach, and we must be sure to always deliver on them.”
The GLS's size, and its popularity in emerging markets such as China, make it an ideal basis for a Maybach-branded SUV. If launched, the Mercedes-Maybach SUV would compete in the same ultra-luxury territory as the upcoming Bentley Bentayga and the now-confirmed Rolls-Royce SUV, codenamed Cullinan.
Zetsche also revealed that Mercedes was continuing to develop full battery electric vehicles, and that he and the rest of the industry was closely watching Tesla’s success to see if there was a wider market for larger luxury electric vehicles.
“Traditionally we would have thought of electric cars for urban applications, but Tesla has shown another route,” said Zetsche. “It remains to see if their outcome can be transferred.”
He added that a breakthrough in battery technology that would allow a significant increase in range was still 5-10 years away, and Mercedes had several different types of battery technology in development.
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