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2011-11-28 09:06

END OF A LINE: Mercedes' super-luxury Maybach has finally be canned - nobody wanted one.

FRANKFURT, Germany - Daimler is to axe its Maybach super-luxury brand after years of losses and moribund sales to replace it with more expensive models of its Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Chief executive Dieter Zetsche told German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "We held extensive discussions internally about which way would promise the greatest success in the luxury segment and we concluded that the sales chances for the Mercedes brand were better than those of Maybach."


Instead, he plans to extend the number of S-Class derivatives from the current three to six to boost the model's volume, possibly even doubling it to 80 000 units a year.

"It would not be sensible to develop a successor model for the current Maybach," he added, according to an excerpt of the interview.

When it was launched in 2002 the Maybach's protractors thought 1000 units a year a fair target but the best they did was 200 a year. VW and BMW, by comparison, took far more successful excursions into the super-luxury segment thanks to scooping up British brands Bentley and Rolls-Royce, respectively.

Auto industry experts have long argued that Maybach, a brand that before its revival in 2002 had not been in production since 1940, enjoyed no strong standing among the discriminating wealthy. The indiscriminating, such as impoverished Swaziland's royal family, bought two.


BMW's Rolls-Royce, by contrast, has seen volumes soar by 41% to 2441 in the first nine months of 2011, driven particularly by its lower price, higher volume, Ghost model.

VW's Bentley, best known for grand tourers such as the Continental GT rather than large saloons, managed to increase its sales by 31% to 4763.

The Maybach became such an image liability that Daimler stopped publishing monthly volume statistics several years ago, preferring only to present the figure in its annual accounts.

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