2013 to Mark the Last Year for the Luxury Maybach Line
Published August 20, 2012
While the death of the Maybach line will certainly not get as much attention as Pontiac or even Hummer did, Mercedes will not mourn the loss, but celebrate it. The past few years have been rough for the Maybach, which in turn has taken its toll on Mercedes. The Maybach came about as Mercedes-Benz way to compete with Rolls-Royce and Bentley after a failed attempt to purchase Rolls-Royce, which was purchased by BMW. The exclusivity of the Maybach may perhaps be one of the reasons for its demise, but there are quite a few contributing factors to lead to its eventual downfall.
The Maybach was introduced in 2002 in New York City with the first models being flown via helicopter from a ship docked in the East River. The least expensive Maybach available costs just over $375,000 and the top of the line Landaulet costs almost $1.4 million. The Landaulet holds the distinction of being an open-air limousine that is one of the most luxurious and exquisite vehicles one can own. While Maybach claimed they build the world’s most exclusive luxury cars, no one seemed to be buying it, literally. With an initial sales target of 800 per year, never in its run has it even come close.
The decision to kill of the Maybach means that Mercedes-Benz can use the money it was throwing out the window to fund Maybach to bolster its own ultra-luxury offerings. While it seemed the only place the Maybach was doing well was in Germany, but them again so does Mercedes-Benz. This is no different from American built cars, obviously there are going to be more Chevrolets, Fords than Mercedes-Benz or BMW in the United States. While Mercedes-Benz is a popular vehicle in America, it will never be able to overtake cars built by American carmakers. With the most expensive Maybach being a limousine, it seemed that the Germans prefer vehicles they can drive themselves instead of being chauffeured around.
Maybach USA had 30 dealerships or “studios” as they were referred to. In 2002 when the Maybach made its debut, these dealers were required to spend big bucks to create these “studios” to the specifications that Maybach demanded. They also had to be built well in advance of the actual debut of the Maybach to allow future Maybach owners to “create their own” Maybach in one of these “studios”. Rest assured that once the last Maybach rolls out of the production facility; most of the owners of these “studios” will probably be filing bankruptcy.
The last 2012 Maybach, which will be available in 2013 after it is built, will be the same everything that has been out since 2010. Mercedes-Benz is not making any big deal about it being the last Maybach ever built. By the looks of things, they are just happy to get the last ones built and collect the enormous amount of money that the last few buyers will be paying for them. The last time Mercedes-Benz even made announcements about the Maybach was in July of 2010, and since then it seems the novelty has worn off.
For those not familiar with the Maybach, they are a vehicle of excess. From the .925 sterling silver badging on the seats, the wine chiller and sterling silver goblets in the passenger area to the seats straight out of a Lear jet, there was nothing cheap in the Maybach. Even the engines that supply the power to these 6,000lb plus beasts is over the top. The Maybach 57, the least expensive, has a 5.5-liter V12 that generates 543hp with 664 lb. ft. of torque. Upgrade to the 57S and you can add a bi-turbo to the 5.5-liter V12, which brings it up to 620hp and 738 lb. ft. of torque. The Maybach 62 and 62S are powered by the same engines as the 57 and 57S respectively, but the vehicle is much longer and includes amenities that are even more expensive. The top of the line Maybach 62 Landaulet open-air limousine is powered by a 6.0-liter V12, bi-turbo that still offers 620hp to push a 6,500lb limousine to a top speed of 155mph. Just the seats in these extravagant cars probably cost more than one of their chauffeurs would ever see in a lifetime.
While we still live in a country of excess, sometimes a line has to be drawn. The huge price, long wait and impractical nature of the Maybach are just a few things that led to its demise. While the Rolls-Royce seems to be the only land yacht left, they seem to be doing well, for now. Perhaps Rolls-Royce will suffer a similar fate in the years to come; there is really no way to tell. As long as there are people willing to spend the money to own a status symbol vehicle, they will continue to be made, until like the Maybach, the excess just was not enough to keep them going.