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Can Maybach Be Mended?



The plan was nothing if not ambitious: Dust off a long-dead nameplate with zero recognition, take on Rolls-Royce for the title of Best--or at least Most Expensive--Car in the World, and sell about 1000 examples a year to the superrich.

The Maybach arrived for the 2004 model year and very quickly proved just how ambitious that plan was. Particularly the last part. The brand sold a grand total of 146 cars in the United States last year and 152 the year before--about one-third of Rolls-Royce's U.S. sales. Uh-oh.

"Although it took a while to sink in, everyone involved knows now that it's not the brand that's at fault," claims one Maybach source. "It's the current product in general and the design in particular. The Exelero show car did more for us than all the tweaks to the 57/62 series combined. Recently, we presented our management a couple of promising concepts, among them a four-seat luxury coupe. But at the moment, most of our work is undercover. You just can't fire a bunch of people at Chrysler and simultaneously spend millions on a new Maybach."

One possible short-term boost could come from a Maybach edition of the Mercedes-Benz GL-class SUV. Don't laugh. Cheap to build and expensive to buy, the Maybach GL would be the brand's first real moneymaker. The plan is to give it a Maybach grille, new bumpers, a revised rear end, more brightwork, and wider wheels. The cabin would be upgraded with top-grade leather and wood and rear lounge seats like those in the 57/62. Some 1500 vehicles would be sold, but only outside of Europe.

Ultimately, however, everyone agrees that what Maybach really needs is a new mid-size model priced in the $225,000-to-$275,000 bracket. "The best bet is a stylish and powerful four-door, four-seat coupe--kind of a bigger CLS for the very rich," says our friend in product planning.

That project is based on the S-class. The design is brand-new, and it's said to be much more convincing than Maybach's first effort. Unusual elements include unique exterior lighting that emits a soft glow accentuating certain body contours, a variable-tint glass roof, and a gauge cluster whose display changes based on driving conditions. For propulsion, engineers favor the 5.5-liter turbo V-12, which can make up to 600 hp and more than 700 lb-ft of torque.

But the big question is whether management will pour still more cash into Maybach--or will this nameplate be allowed to slip back into the past?
SOURCE: Automobile Magazine
 

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I've sat in the Maybach, and at least one comment in the article is correct - it's the product that's wrong.

The inside is really garish. I mean, really garish. The wood is over lacquered and looks fake and badly stuck on. I was sitting in a show car which they were trying to sell for quarter of a million pounds where at they couldn't even get the wood veneer trim stuck on right. The colours clashed - forget Big Kev and the baby-sick light oak interior on the facelifted Rover 75, this was truly horrible.

The only thing that amazes me is that anyone bought one at all. Still, I guess that's what America is for: no accounting for taste.
 

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I think the Maybach looks truly dire ,a total joke of a car for the price.

And while I'm not an environmental type by any stretch of the imagination ,does anyone really need a car the size of the Ark Royal in this day and age-it's even more socially unacceptable than a Hummer!
 

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There's one reason, why the Maybach looks like a Mercedes knock-off :
Firstly the model was planned to be an successor of the iconic Mercedes 600 (build till 1981, as pullman stretch limousine, normal sedan and 59 pullman landaulet versions. The legendary "600" (the preferred ride of presidents, dictators, kings and queens) from 1963 till 1981):
Here's a rare pullman landaulet version :



The idea was to call it simply Mercedes-Benz "800". But MB asked some potential customers : Would you prefer a new luxurious car from MB called "Mercedes-Benz 800" or "Maybach". Most of the potential customers voted for "Maybach". (I wonder who they asked ? Russian oligarchs and rich arabs with more money than sense ? Before, MB even tried to buy Rolls-Royce (in the very early 90s)).
Therefore, during the development, most people at Mercedes-Benz thought it would be called MB 800, therefore it was developed as a MB. In the end, they ditched the idea and called it "Maybach".
(It was also a fight between the traditionalists who wanted a 600 successor, and the ones obessed with old brands which should be resurrected.)
The rest is history....

I would change the Maybach badge and put a Mercedes-Benz star-badge instead and a number on the back saying "800", instead of 62 or 52. It would have been better, if MB had call it an successor of the "600" and not a "Maybach".

I have to admit, that the Maybach is not a "head turner" on the street. It was long before the project got the green light, planned as a successor of the "600". I saw pictures from early design-propsals and all of them were completly different to that what we now know as the Maybach 62/57.
(How ? I know someone, who knows someone else whose neighbours dog is relative to someone elses dog whose owner is married with someone who knows someone else who works for MB.) There were more sleak and less plump design propsals and there were even propsals with design cues from the old "600", but the badass decision to call it ('cos some rich senseless people thought it would be nice) made it that the whole design propsals were denied and they began again from scratch. One of the problems were, in my opinion, that Bruno Sacco handed over the Maybach-project to Murat Günak (he was also responsible for the SLR.) Günaks projects till then before were the first C-Class and the first SLK, both not really beautiful cars. (Yes, he's also the guy who designed the Peugeot 206 and 206 CC).
I believe that under Mr. Sacco such a design like the Maybach would have never given green light. Sacco (italian afaik) penned some of the most important cars for Mercedes-Benz, and some are still ageless Mercs till today, e.g. the W126 S-Class from 1979-1989 is still the iconic s-class, no s-class were sold more than the W126 S-Class, and the later S-Classes didn't become such a success or the R129 SL from 1989 - 2001.
I was sad when Sacco retired in 1999...

My idea behind putting a MB-star on the bonnet : For me the Maybach
is like someone who's born as a boy but feels hisself more like a "girl", in short : A girl prisoned in the body of a boy !
So a Maybach is just a Mercedes-Benz prisoned in the body of a "Maybach". Some will say, that it still will then look like a heap of **** and nothing changed. But with a MB-star it gets the right badge...
(You moan about the two-tone color ? Err..do you remember a "special edition" Ferrari 612 from last year ? The cars had also a two tone paint....)
I don't mean that Maybach is the ideal car for people who don't want to show-off or be ostentacious... no, it's for people who don't care how their car looks like, e.g. Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles (I know what I'm talking about. My first car was a white, four door Renault R5, which was before my sisters first car, but she is older so I got it as she bought herself another car. Later I got the "pink", yes it was pink, Fiat Uno with a black door from her, her second car. Its owner before had a little accident, that's the reason it had a black door. If you drive a "pink" car as a boy, you start not to listen to other peoples opinion about your car. I had the idea to paint the rest of the car also black, but decided that it was not worth to invest money in this car :D. Paiting it black it would have doubled the value of the car. Later on the car were sent to scrapyard )
 

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Maybach was caught out by the new Rolls and revived Bentley. Plus it needs a coupe.

It's going to end up like Dailmer is to Jaguar, a badge with pose value.
 

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@xerif : What you forget to say about the Bentleys : The volume models are just tarted up VW Phaetons.... The Maybach is build on a bespoke platform.
Daimler-Chrysler has really other problems than thinking about Maybach...
The only solution to make money with Maybach is : Base all models on MB platforms, no bespoke platform, make exclusive and not so common versions e.g. a "landaulet" version... No one cares that the Bentley Continental is based on a VW platform...it's selling like hot cakes.... and call the Maybach SUV just "Maybach Jagdwagen" (=hunting car).
The right line up :
- new Maybach limousine
- smaller Maybach limousine
- coupe from the bigger limousine called Maybach "Autobahnkurier" or in short Maybach AK
- convertible from the bigger limousine
- pullman version from the bigger limousine
- pullmann landaulet version
- "sedance de ville" version
- coupe from the smaller Maybach limousine
- convertible/roadster from the smaller Maybach limousine
- a sport car, based on SLR, as coupe and roadster and limited edition "shooting brake" version....
- SUV, called "Jagdwagen"
- limited edition funeral (hearse) Maybach.... for the last journey in life :)...or better after life
- from all models a version called "Colombia safe guard version", an armoured version for such dangerous countries like Colombia, South Africa...and other "no go areas".... Perhaps a "Maybach Bagdad" edition, armoured with build in machine gun and cruisle missles or scud rockets
- a nuclear powered version for Iran only and the Iranian president :) (and you don't have to care about petrol prices anymore...)

All models avaiblable also as "hybrid version"... to sell to the "I'm so green and tree-huger" celebs.... Just imagine a V12 hybrid engine :D

And 1000 years guarantee (forget Kia or Hyundai with their 7 years gurantee) and parts supply/servicing
 

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@xerif : What you forget to say about the Bentleys : The volume models are just tarted up VW Phaetons.... The Maybach is build on a bespoke platform.
Daimler-Chrysler has really other problems than thinking about Maybach...
The only solution to make money with Maybach is : Base all models on MB platforms, no bespoke platform, make exclusive and not so common versions e.g. a "landaulet" version... No one cares that the Bentley Continental is based on a VW platform...it's selling like hot cakes.... and call the Maybach SUV just "Maybach Jagdwagen" (=hunting car).
The right line up :
- new Maybach limousine
- smaller Maybach limousine
- coupe from the bigger limousine called Maybach "Autobahnkurier" or in short Maybach AK
- convertible from the bigger limousine
- pullman version from the bigger limousine
- pullmann landaulet version
- "sedance de ville" version
- coupe from the smaller Maybach limousine
- convertible/roadster from the smaller Maybach limousine
- a sport car, based on SLR, as coupe and roadster and limited edition "shooting brake" version....
- SUV, called "Jagdwagen"
- limited edition funeral (hearse) Maybach.... for the last journey in life :)...or better after life
- from all models a version called "Colombia safe guard version", an armoured version for such dangerous countries like Colombia, South Africa...and other "no go areas".... Perhaps a "Maybach Bagdad" edition, armoured with build in machine gun and cruisle missles or scud rockets
- a nuclear powered version for Iran only and the Iranian president :) (and you don't have to care about petrol prices anymore...)

All models avaiblable also as "hybrid version"... to sell to the "I'm so green and tree-huger" celebs.... Just imagine a V12 hybrid engine :D

And 1000 years guarantee (forget Kia or Hyundai with their 7 years gurantee) and parts supply/servicing
You've forgotten about gangsta rappaz.

Nar... I reckon they should just do an SUV based on decade-old chassis technology and just tack on a lot of gimmicks and trim. Worked for the Big Three.

No wait... says here they ARE doing that... good job.
 

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The thing is at this level Rolls Royce and Bentley are long established brand names with history. The Maybach looks tacky in places and just isn't in the same league. Best thing Mercedes could do is shut Maybach and call it a day. Rolls and Bentley are just too good and too far ahead of them.
 

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Good article the Uh-oh mad me laugh, nice writing by Automobile Magazine.

But it is true in my mind at least Maybach puts imags of expensive Mercs tarted up, with non elegent design.

Really what is needs is almost total serperation of the brand from the owning company.
 

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Really what is needs is almost total serperation of the brand from the owning company.

Sorry, but separating Maybach from Mercedes-Benz is like killing the Maybach brand, 'cos its not viable to develop a bespoke platform and technology for some 1000 cars p.a. (Please don't start to argue with Rolls-Royce. You could put "RR" badge/"Emily" on a pile of **** and everybody would say: "Oh, it looks so "RR"...its how a RR should always look like. It's same with Ferrari : Take a bag full of ****, badge it as "Ferrari" and everybody will say: "Genius engineering. So sexy like the curves of the young Sophia Loren")
No, Maybach needs more MB-technology, but completly different exterior design.....

My idea : Bring back Mr. Bruno Sacco ! I know he's now 70 something years old, but this man has still "taste". Or better call also Mr. Paul Bracq, also still living and also an old MB-Designer...
Yes, this would be genius... Paul Bracq and Bruno Sacco design together a new Maybach...a whole new family of Maybach cars....
That are great ingredients : French-Italian design + German technology...
 

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The point of a Maybach is non existent then Mercedes is there shouting 'hey Im your cheaper but equally as exclusive cousin' over its shoulder. Just buy an S Class and load it with extras and a longer wheelbase (if LWB is offered, im sure it is)
 

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Sorry, but separating Maybach from Mercedes-Benz is like killing the Maybach brand, 'cos its not viable to develop a bespoke platform and technology for some 1000 cars p.a. (Please don't start to argue with Rolls-Royce. You could put "RR" badge/"Emily" on a pile of **** and everybody would say: "Oh, it looks so "RR"...its how a RR should always look like. It's same with Ferrari : Take a bag full of ****, badge it as "Ferrari" and everybody will say: "Genius engineering. So sexy like the curves of the young Sophia Loren")
No, Maybach needs more MB-technology, but completly different exterior design.....

My idea : Bring back Mr. Bruno Sacco ! I know he's now 70 something years old, but this man has still "taste". Or better call also Mr. Paul Bracq, also still living and also an old MB-Designer...
Yes, this would be genius... Paul Bracq and Bruno Sacco design together a new Maybach...a whole new family of Maybach cars....
That are great ingredients : French-Italian design + German technology...
But the problem is Rolls Royce aren't making rubish they are actually making a much better car on a bespoke platform. There's nothing positive you can really say about the Maybach over the Roller and that's the basic problem.
 

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Its ok to share under the skin technologies but if you are paying excessive amounts of money for a car you expect to be getting something special thats what I was trying to get at. If the marque needs to lean on Merc for its image how can it be seen to be a RR or Bentley competitor?
 

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"The point of a Maybach is non existent then Mercedes is there shouting 'hey Im your cheaper but equally as exclusive cousin' over its shoulder. Just buy an S Class and load it with extras and a longer wheelbase (if LWB is offered, im sure it is)"

@MGR_Petrolhead : Sorry, this might be right on the first sight, but there are still ways to separate a Maybach from a Merc : Build versions no other car maker is building (anymore). As I stated : Landaulet version ? Nor RR neither Bentley offers a Laundaulet version of their models. Sedanca de Ville version ? Nor RR neither Bentley offers one. Pullman with six doors ? Nor RR neither Bentley offers a Pullman version of their models. "Jagdwagen"=Hunting Car ? Nor RR neither Bentley offers such a 4x4 car. (Don't start with "Range Rover". I can't remember paying 500.000 Euro and more for a Landrover Range Rover which is specially build for hunting ). Four door convertible ? Nor RR neither Bentley offers a four door convertible. One-off versions build on the basic platform of their model line ? (that means offer a basic platform and the possibilty for costumers to design the car of their dreams.) RR and Bentley did that in the last time in the 90s for the Sultan of Brunei....
And beside of that, some of the engines only for Maybach models:
A 24 cylinder engine, a 16 cylinder engine, a 12 cylinder and a Merc derived V8 for entry-level versions but always with more power than the similiar Merc model.
The number of rich people are rising from year to year...therefore still some potential in that market... sky is the limit


@MGRovernut: No problem is that RR is "allowed" in some way to deliver rubbish... and still everybody would say :Ohh... a RR... the RR-effect. I don't say that they make rubbish...I'm far from that...but no one would care...no one in the past cared about that... You don't buy a RR, 'cos it's a very good car... you buy a RR, cos it's a RR... that's it. There are also cars that are faster or as fast as a Ferrari, but there are still enough people who buy a Ferrari.... 3000-4000 people p.a. 'cos it's a Ferrari .
But Maybach, as a underdog, seems to have to reinvent the wheel....
Even if the product were much better, there would be still "badge snobbism".


But what did all expect ? The Maybach was developed by MB engineers...
We saw what happens, when you advise your engineers to develop a car that should be different from the stuff that they are used to develop :
The Fiat Stilo ! The order at Fiat was : Make an italian VW Golf...
The result was a car, that almost killed FIAT...



DaimlerChrysler has really other problems...they can afford such "prestige" failures and have other more serious problems=> Chrysler...the future direction of the core brand Mercedes-Benz, the future of the Smart brand and the potential risks of being taken-over by private equity firms or hedge fonds...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The other big problem with Maybach is the dealer network - there is one dealer in the UK - in London.

Even Rolls Royce have 6 in the UK:

Scotland, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Essex and Berkshire.
 

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Any one else immediately think of the Vanden Plas Allegro when reading the description of the Maybach GL?
I know what you're saying.

Looked up Maybach on wikipedia - apparently they cost around 357,000 dollars. Are they really worth that ,because to me they look like stretched versions of those big Korean saloons you got in the late 90's.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maybach

Even if I was mega loaded and could afford one ,it's probably the last thing I'd want to have sitting outside my mansion!

In fact ,with it's 'fake' merc style front end it could easily be a Geeley.
 

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GAGA I agree with you on the branding issue up to a point. I've always argued that it's harder to start a brand new brand than relaunch an old one. E.g What would sell better a new Triumph or a new Cherry? However Lexus has proven that sales can be built up particually in Asia. Trouble with Maybach is that the competion is very good and has brand's. Whilst Maybach is very bad and has no brand.
 

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Ok time to show myself up, you know there are questions you've always wanted to ask to but are too embarrased, Why does Jaguar have a brand called Daimler then there is Daimler Chrysler which I understand is Daimler Benz stake in the Chrysler company which I think was a merger as opposed to a buy out. Ok I understand that years ago Gottieb Daimler and Karl Benz formed the Benz company etc, etc. The bit I don't understand is where Jaguars Daimler moniker fits into all of this? Coincidence does not seem to be the answer.
 
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