Today, the ultra-luxury car brand is owned by Daimler AG and based in Stuttgart. Tognum AG based in Friedrichshafen used to manufacture the commercial Maybach diesel engines under the MTU brand through its subsidiary MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH.
Daimler announced in November 2011 that Maybach will cease to be a brand by 2013 and manufactured the last Maybach vehicle in December 2012. This was due to poor sales, with only 3,000 cars sold since the brand's revival in 2002. The decision follows almost a decade of trying to make Maybach a profitable rival to Rolls Royce and Bentley.
1909–1940: Early history
Wilhelm Maybach was technical director of the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) until he left in 1907. On 23 March 1909 he founded the new company, Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH (literally "Aircraft Engine Building Company"), with his son Karl Maybach as director. In 1912 they renamed it to Maybach-Motorenbau GmbH ("Maybach Engine Construction Company"). The company originally developed and manufactured diesel and petrol engines for Zeppelins, and then rail cars. Its Maybach Mb.IVa was used in aircraft and airships of World War I.
The company first built an experimental car in 1919, introduced as a production model two years later at the Berlin Motor Show. Between 1921 and 1940, the company produced a variety of opulent vehicles, now regarded as classics. The company also continued to build heavy duty diesel engines for marine and rail purposes.
During the Second World war, Maybach produced the engines for Nazi Germany's medium and heavy tanks. The engine plant was one of several industries targeted at Friedrichshafen.
After WW II the factory performed some repair work, but automotive production was never restarted, and some 20 years later, the company was renamed MTU Friedrichshafen. Daimler-Benz purchased the company in 1960. Post 1960 the company was mainly used to make special editions of Mercedes cars in the W108 and W116 model range which were virtually hand built. These cars however carried the Mercedes badge and serial numbers.
Daimler presented a luxury concept car at the 1997 Tokyo Motorshow. A production model based on it was introduced in two sizes — the Maybach 57 and the Maybach 62, reflecting the lengths of the automobiles in decimetres. In 2005, the 57S was added, powered by a 6.0L V12 bi-turbo engine producing 450 kW (603 hp) and 1,000 N·m (738 lbf·ft) of torque, and featuring various cosmetic touches.
The base price of a 2009 Maybach 57 was US$344,000; the Maybach 57 S, US$381,000; the Maybach 62, US$394,000; the Maybach 62 S, US$430,000, and the Maybach Landaulet semi-convertible costs just over US$1 million. The Maybach 57 Zeppelin is priced at €406,000 (US$580,000) and the 62 Zeppelin at €473,200 (US$677,000).
Initially, Daimler-Chrysler predicted annual sales of 2,000 worldwide with 50% coming from the United States; however, these expectations never materialized. In 2007, Mercedes bought back 29 US dealers, reducing the total from 71 to 42. In 2010, only 157 Maybachs were sold worldwide, compared to 2,711 similarly priced Rolls-Royces. Just 3,000 have been sold worldwide since the marque was revived in 2002.
Cancellation and the end of Maybach
With poor sales expectations and the heavy impact of the 2008 financial crisis, Daimler AG undertook a complete review of the Maybach division, approaching Aston Martin to engineer and style the next generation of Maybach models along with the next generation of Lagondas. According to Automotive News, only 44 Maybachs had been sold in the U.S. through October 2011.
The line will be replaced by the next-generation of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class due for the 2014 model year, particularly the long wheelbase S-Class Pullman. An executive told a Frankfurt newspaper that Daimler came to the conclusion that the sales chances for the Mercedes brand were better than that of Maybach."
According to Fortune Magazine, after missing out on the chance to purchase Rolls-Royce and Bentley when they were up for sale in the 1990s, "Mercedes backpedaled and decided it needed to be in the ultra-luxury business too, but it went after it in a remarkably clumsy way". Fortune stated that the first Maybach models had poor driving dynamics compared to its contemporaries from Rolls-Royce and Bentley, as "Mercedes took an aging S-class chassis and plopped an absurdly elongated body on it...rather than develop a new car from the wheels up, as BMW did with Rolls-Royce, or cleverly use the underpinnings of an existing model like the Volkswagen Phaeton for a new Bentley". Furthermore, Maybachs were never advertised as owner-driven vehicles, as the company believed that the luxury amenities would be sufficient to sell and they even insisted that auto journalists (who usually test drive the vehicle) ride in the backseat.
Another suggestion for Maybach's struggles was that parent Daimler had failed to differentiate it from its Mercedes-Benz brand. While all three ultra-luxury marques share platforms and engines with other luxury brands from their parent auto company, Maybachs are built alongside the Mercedes-Benz S-Class flagship sedan, whereas Rolls-Royce and Bentley are assembled in England (separate from the rest of BMW and Volkswagen Group's production plants), and thus are regarded as being more "exclusive". Furthermore, the Maybach's pedigree was virtually unknown outside of Germany, unlike its British rivals which have long enjoyed renown worldwide; indeed the 2006 Rolls-Royce Phantom's interior evokes memories of a 1930s car while the Maybach 57S's inside makes no reference to its marque's history.
In November 2011, Daimler's CEO Dieter Zetsche announced, that the Maybach-brand will cease to exist in 2012, making room for other models of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The Maybach-limousines will still be sold up to the year 2013, but after that, the name "Maybach" would not be used anymore. On August 14, 2012, parent Daimler AG announced the official discontinuation of Maybach by releasing a pricing sheet officially discontinuing the Maybach 57, 57S, 62, 62S and Landaulet. On December 17, 2012, the last Maybach-vehicle was manufactured in Sindelfingen.
The Maybach brand became a staple of popular culture, with its name being almost synonymous for luxury despite the cessation of operations. The American rapper Rick Ross made Maybach Music Group the name of his record label, and almost all of his albums have a song named after the car. Maybach Music Group's logo is based on the Maybach logo.
- 1919 Maybach W1: Test car based on a BMW chassis
- 1921 Maybach W3: First Maybach, shown at Berlin Motor Show. Featured a 70 hp (52 kW) 5.7L inline six.
- 1926 Maybach W5: 7L inline six, 120 hp (89 kW)
- 1929 Maybach 12: V12 precursor to DS7/8
- 1930 Maybach DSH: Doppel-Sechs-Halbe ("half a twelve cylinder") 1930-37
- 1930 Maybach DS7 Zeppelin: 7L V12, 150 hp (112 kW)
- 1931 Maybach W6: Same engine as W5, longer wheelbase. 1931-33
- 1931 Maybach DS8 Zeppelin: 8L V12, 200 hp (150 kW)
- 1934 Maybach W6 DSG: Featuring a twin overdrive transmission system.
- 1935 Maybach SW35: 3.5L 140 hp (104 kW) I6
- 1936 Maybach SW38: 3.8L 140 hp (104 kW) I6
- 1939 Maybach SW42: 4.2L 140 hp (104 kW) I6
- 1945 Maybach JW61: 3.8L 145 hp (108 kW) I6
W2 were the 5.7L inline six engines built for and ordered by Spyker. Not all were purchased, and Karl had to build cars featuring the engines to offset costs.
Around 1800 Maybachs were built before WW II.
- 2002 Maybach 57 and 62
- 2005 Maybach Exelero (prototype shown at the IAA in Frankfurt)
- 2005 Maybach 57S (the S standing for Special rather than Sport)
- 2006 Maybach 62S
- 2007 Maybach 62 Landaulet
- 2009 Maybach 57 Zeppelin and Maybach 62 Zeppelin
- 2011 Maybach Guard
The Maybach 57 accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in about 5.1 seconds; the Maybach 62 and 57 S, about 4.8 seconds; the Maybach 62 S and the Landaulet in 4.5 seconds. This rapid acceleration is noteworthy for cars weighing well over 6,000 pounds. Maybachs in general are extremely powerful: the 57 has 518 bhp (386 kW; 525 PS); the 57 S, 559 bhp (417 kW; 567 PS); the 62, 570 bhp (425 kW; 578 PS); the 62 S, 612 bhp (456 kW; 620 PS), and the Landaulet, 633 bhp (472 kW; 642 PS).
The base price of a 2009 Maybach 57 was $344,000; the Maybach 57 S, $381,000; the Maybach 62, $394,000; the Maybach 62 S, $430,000, and the Maybach Landaulet semi convertible cost just over 1 million. The Maybach 57 Zeppelin was priced at €406,000 ($580,000) and the 62 Zeppelin at €473,200 ($677,000).
Standard features of all Maybach models included, but are not limited to, a navigation system with voice recognition, air conditioning with 4-zone climate controls, power rear sunshade, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, interior air filter, front and rear seat massage, 21-speaker premium sound system, power tilt/telescopic heated wood/leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio and climate controls, power trunk open/close, voice-activated AM/FM radio with 10-disc CD changer, keyless start, heated front and rear seats, cooled front seats, power panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, premium leather upholstery, 18-way power front seats, 14-way power rear seats, heated cupholders, rearview camera, iPod adapter, wireless cell phone link, outside-temperature indicator, universal garage door opener, and night vision.
Options for the Maybach 57 and 57S and standard for the Maybach 62, 62S, and Landaulet included 18-way power rear seats (replacing 14-way), 5-zone climate controls (replacing 4-zone), power side sunshades, cooled rear seats, wireless headphones, voice-activated power panoramic sunroof (replacing power panoramic sunroof), steering wheel mounted navigation controls, heated glass windows, and 30-speaker premium sound system (replacing 21-speaker).
The company offered various options for customers to personalize their vehicles, and provided various equipment combinations.
- List of German cars
- Maybach Foundation
- Maybach I and II, two World War II bunker complexes named after the engines.
- Museum for Historical Maybach Vehicles
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- Johnson, Drew (2011-06-13). "Daimler to rule on future of Maybach next month". Leftlanenews.com. Retrieved 2011-11-23.
- Fuhrmans, Vanessa (8 August 2011). "A Handful of Maybachs Isn't Enough". The Wall Street Journal.
- "Daimler To Discontinue Maybach Brand in 2013". November 28, 2011.
- Hetzner, Christiaan (25 November 2011). "Daimler pulls plug on loss-making Maybach - paper". Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- Valdes-Dapena, Peter (22 March 2006). "Rolls-Royce vs. Maybach". CNN.
- "Traditionsmarke: Daimler beendet Maybach-Ära (in German)". ftd.de. 25 November 2011.
- "Maybach Comes To A Quiet End". insideline.com. 2012-08-14. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
- Pretzlaff, Harry (30 December 2012). "Ende der Luxusmarke: Für den Maybach war nichts zu teuer (in German)". stuttgarter-zeitung.de.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Maybach vehicles.|
- Maybach Comes to a Quiet End
- Maybach Manufaktur
- The Maybach Museum (in German)
- A biography of Wilhelm Maybach (in German)
- Technical information about Maybach engines in the Tiger I tank
- Maybach Foundation
- "Lockers Hold Spare Wheel Of Stream Line Auto", Popular Mechanics, October 1932, a streamlined auto made in co-operation with Junkers engineers, only one built