Eight years after the launch of its ultra-luxurious Maybach brand, can Daimler AG afford to keep the lesser-known competitor to Rolls-Royce and Bentley going?
Sales of the super-premium brand have been steadily declining, since shortly after Maybach made its debut, in the 2003 model-year, leading more than a few industry analysts to speculate about its long-term viability.
Company insiders point to the launch of the new 2010 Maybach Zeppelin as a sign of their commitment to the brand, and insist that despite its modest volumes, the premium marque is delivering cash to Daimler’s bottom line. But whether the company is willing to keep the Maybach brand going indefinitely is a question that is left hanging.
It’s been a difficult time for virtually all high-line luxury automakers Maybach officials won’t release sales data for the current year, but they acknowledge that volumes have been on the slide since their record of 500 cars sold shortly after launch. By 2007 that was down to 400 and, last year, the number tumbled to 300. But as global brand manager Patrick Marinoff wass quick to point out, Maybach isn’t unique. Bentley, for example, is likely to finish the year off as much as 40% from its 2007 peak of more than 10,000 vehicles.