2012 Bentley Continental GTC. Photo copyright Marty Padgett 2011.
The brand’s exclusivity has helped it attract celebrity owners like Jay-Z, King Juan Carlos of Spain, the Sultan of Brunei and even actor Samuel L. Jackson. That may help with media coverage, but it doesn’t help with profitability, so Daimler has made the decision to kill off the Maybach brand.
Instead, Mercedes-Benz will focus on taking the S-Class more upscale, and hopes to attract existing Maybach owners looking to replace their cars. As Automotive News (subscription required) points out, Bentley hopes to lure away existing Maybach owners with personalized attention.
If you own a Maybach, expect to get a letter from Bentley, specifically from Bentley CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer. In his own words, “The withdrawal of Maybach is a business opportunity for us and we’re going to use it.”
To showcase Bentley, Maybach owners are invited to attend a VIP tour of the brand’s Crewe, England factory. Duerheimer hopes this will help create a “welcome zone” inside the Bentley brand, which offers a broader model range than Maybach, perhaps with a bit less prestige.
Bentley wants to target Porsche Cayenne Turbo owners, too, but lacks a competitive vehicle to do so. Duerheimer is pressuring Volkswagen, Bentley’s parent, to approve development of a Bentley-branded SUV to counter the Cayenne Turbo.
Then there’s Rolls-Royce, the other ultra-premium English automaker whose products can rival Maybach in pricing. While Rolls-Royce would welcome Maybach customers to the brand, it’s not actively targeting owners.
In the words of a Rolls-Royce spokesman, “seeking them (Maybach owners) out and hunting them down is not the Rolls-Royce way.”