The fate of the struggling Maybach brand will be determined by as early as next month according to latest comments from Dieter Zetsche. Speaking at a recent press event, the Daimler boss revealed that the brand would either be dropped or launch a second generation of its uber-luxury sedan together with Aston Martin.
"There is a higher likelihood to come to a positive decision" for a second-generation Maybach if a partner is involved, Zetsche said to Automotive News.
Aston Martin has long been reported to be in talks with Maybach over everything from engine sharing and hybrid technology to the joint-development of a new luxury sedan and crossover. For Maybach, the new sedan would serve as the replacement for its lackluster 57 and 62 models, while Aston Martin would sell its version of the sedan under the revived Lagonda brand.
Note that Aston Martin is also likely to launch a new Lagonda crossover based on the same platform underpinning the recently revealed 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class or next-gen GL. Additionally, inside sources have also revealed that Aston Martin is looking to use Mercedes’ V-8 and V-12 engines, plus seven-speed automatic transmissions, for its future lineup.
The story doesn’t end there as Zetsche also reportedly confirmed that a concept for the next-generation Maybach sedan had been developed and that a final decision is still pending.
He is also said to have finally admitted that Daimler made a mistake spending more than $1 billion on the development of Maybach and that "it was not a good investment for a small-volume vehicle."
Maybach only manufactured 157 cars last year, 63 of which were sold in the U.S. Compare this to BMW-owned Rolls-Royce, which sold more than 2,000 cars last year.
If a second-generation Maybach is produced, let’s hope designers don’t use a superseded platform this time ‘round nor make the car look like another derivative of a Mercedes-Benz model.
A final decision on the fate of Maybach is expected to be made by July 1. Stay tuned for an update.
[Automotive News, sub req’d]