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Is Merc pulling plug on Maybach?

2008-03-18 14:04
Daimler AG's ultra-luxury Maybach has not lived up to expectations and following CEO Dieter Zetsche's recent interview with a US publication, the brand's future looks uncertain.

The marque, which was revived in the late 90s by former DaimlerChrysler CEO Juergen Schrempp, produced its first new models - the 57 and 62 - in 2002.

In a recent interview with TheCarConnection, Zetsche commented that he has not approved any plans to replace the current line-up of ageing Maybach products.

And while the manufacturer confirmed production of the 62-based Landaulet earlier this year, Zetsche told the publication the model's introduction was not expected to significantly impact sales.

The company has reportedly sold less than one tenth of the numbers originally projected for the brand.

Rolls-Royce rivalry

Zetsche also mentioned it was unlikely that the company would have a positive "return on investment". "This does not matter" he added, since Mercedes has shown it is capable of producing a range of products to compete with the luxury Rolls-Royce line-up.

However, with Zetsche confirming there were no immediate plans to produce new models (rather than simply revise the existing range), he noted that Maybach's fate will be decided within the next two years.

The marque will either experience a new model injection - it has previously been rumoured that a four-door coupe based on the Mercedes-Benz CLS and a large SUV based on its GL-Class are in the works - or the brand will be allowed to suffer another silent slump into anonymity.

Maybach had been a luxury German manufacturer, but had halted production of its vehicles before the start of World War Two.

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