It’s no secret Maybach has been a major flop for Mercedes-Benz. At a time when Rolls-Royce and Bentley are both making record sales, Maybach has struggled to move less than 800 cars since its launch in ’02. The decision has finally come to cull a large portion of Maybach franchises in the U.S., with 29 of the original 71 stores being closed.
Most of the Maybach stores also sell Mercedes models but dealers had to initially fork out over half a million dollars to accommodate the ultra-luxury label. Last year, total sales in the U.S. amounted to just 146 cars, well short of the initial goal of 600 units a year.
Speaking with Automotive News
at the Frankfurt Motor Show last month, Mercedes’ U.S. Chief Ernst Lieb revealed those dealers affected by the decision will be compensated but most are expected to have lost significant investment. One dealer, who sold just seven Maybachs over five years, explained that the revenue wasn’t enough to cover the costs of the studio, demo car and inventory of parts.
One of Maybach’s key problems is that it essentially offers a bloated Mercedes-Benz at an exuberant price tag. The Maybach looks too much like a Mercedes and doesn't offer anything significant over a fully-loaded S-class. Indeed, many critics have argued that the Maybach cars should have simply been branded with the familiar tri-star logo and the company could have prevented spending money on wasteful branding exercises.