You’ve probably heard the saying about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Well, according to most analysts, it’s true.

One estimate suggests that today there are 211,275 people on the planet who can be categorised as ultra-rich, with a net worth of $20-$100 million (to be rich you need $4-$20 million). Combined, they have an estimated worth of £30 trillion.

But it’s estimated that by 2019 there will be 250,000 people in the same ultra-rich class, worth a combined $40 trillion. That’s a lot of people with a lot of money.

What does this mean for the car industry? That the pickings at the top end are going to get bigger - and that is one explanation for why Mercedes has revitalised its top-end Maybach nameplate for what will become a series of vehicles aimed at the super-wealthy.

Some may question how a well appointed S-class can be bracketed with a Bentley Flying Spur or Rolls-Royce Ghost, and to an extent they have a point. The last thing Mercedes wants is to become the Volkswagen Phaeton of the upper-luxury market, and even its makers admit that the Mercedes-Maybach S-class is aimed at buyers who want to go about their business with a degree of subtlety, rather than shout "look at me – I’ve made it".