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Daimler Raises Questions About Maybach’s Future

Long-troubled luxury brand “under review.”

by on Jan.10, 2011

The original, pre-War Maybach Zeppelin was the first V12-powered German car. The 2010 Maybach Zeppelin has gained little traction with the luxury market.

Daimler AG plans to put the ultra-luxury Maybach brand under review and should have a decision on its future this year, Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche told during an interview at the North American International Auto Show.

Originally envisioned as a German alternative to ultra-premium brands Rolls-Royce and Bentley, Maybach has failed to generate much sales volume despite a steady effort to add or update products, such as the original M57 and newer Maybach Zeppelin.

Maybach have never reached the levels Daimler had predicted when the brand was launched in late 2002.  Sales fell again in the U.S. last year, and the company now sells but a fraction of its original target.  Daimler officials have, until recently, defended the brand, insisting they were still able to make money on Maybach, but with its now aging line-up needing a significant refreshing sources tell the economic situation has changed – and not for the better.

When he asked if Daimler might have to reconsider Maybach’s future, Zetsche said, “We are looking at that,” adding he expected to make a decision on the luxury brand’s future this year.  “We just have to decide,” he said.