Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, is relaunching the super-luxury Maybach sedan.
The company stopped manufacturing them in 2012 because there just weren’t enough sales of the $380,000 car, even to Russian oligarchs or American rap stars.
Maybach sold just 3,000 cars in a decade of competing against super-luxury limo brands Rolls-Royce and Bentley.
Last time, Maybach was its own brand within the Daimler family, the other end of the family tree from the small, affordable Smart.
This time, the venerable Maybach name is being rolled out as the top Mercedes-Benz model, as a S 600 limousine, with a pricetag starting at around $80,000.
The lower price pits the new Maybach model against the Porsche Panemera and Maserati Quatroporte luxury sport sedans.
The new Mercedes-Maybach is being introduced to North America at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week, where Mercedes also is introducing a new SUV. ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter will be there to see the wraps come off, and try not to leave drool marks on the quilted leather upholstery.
It’s being launched as a 2016 model, for delivery in 2015. There’s no word yet on horsepower or fuel economy, but you can bet one will be super-high and the other super-low.
The new Mercedes-Maybach will be marketed to what Daimler describes as “status conscious customers”, including newly minted millionaires and billionaires in China, where the company hopes it will sell well.
Wilhelm Maybach was a technical director for Gottlieb Daimler until 1907, when he left to start his own company with son Karl Maybach. They designed and manufactured engines for Zeppelins and aircraft used in World War I, before adding luxury vehicles in the 1920s, and building tanks for the German Army in World War II. Daimler purchased the company in 1960.
There are some spectacular 1930s Maybach cars in the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen, including this 1938 Maybach Zeppilin DS8.
Photos courtesy Daimler and Zeppelin Museum