It has not yet made any profit yet on the Maybach after deciding to reintroduce the 1930s-era marque in 2002. Mercedes will double variations of the $95,000 S- Class to six as it seeks to boost annual vehicle sales by at least 10,000 a year and step up its challenge to BMW AG as the world’s top luxury-car maker. BMW and Volkswagen AG’s Audi have grown at more than five times the pace of Mercedes over the past decade by adding new offerings faster. The 125-year-old manufacturer, which has also dropped to third in profitability, lost the luxury-car sales lead to BMW in 2005 and slipped behind Audi this year.
Zetsche stated “Mercedes is now also mounting the attack in the high-end segment. We have always dominated this segment and that should continue to be the case. We don’t want to wait until the others pull ahead.” Daimler held extensive internal discussions on “which route promises the greatest possible success in the luxury segment,” before concluding that sales prospects were better at Mercedes, the CEO said. The average Maybach takes 60 days to build versus three to four for a typical Mercedes. “It would not make sense to develop a successor model,” said in remarks confirmed by Daimler spokesman Marc Binder. “The coming S-Class is in such a way a superior vehicle that it can replace the Maybach.”
According to reports, Maybach hasn’t seriously challenged BMW’s Rolls-Royce and Volkswagen AG’s Bentley since its reintroduction, with sales topping out at 600 cars in 2003 and sliding to 200 last year. Rolls-Royce sold 2,700 vehicles in 2010 and Bentley 5,100. The brand last year updated its two sedan models with new chrome grills and cleaner 12-cylinder engines, while rear passengers in the $423,500 Maybach 62 got an optional 19-inch cinema screen.