Rumors about the death of uber-premium brand Maybach have been flying for years. In the years prior to 2008’s global economic meltdown, the Maybach seemed like a sensible gamble; there was, after all, a percentage of the population who wanted the absolute best of everything, cost be dammed. In the clear light of day, Daimler is beginning to seriously reconsider if the brand still makes sense in a more fiscally conservative climate.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche addressed questions about the brand at the Detroit Auto Show. In his own words, “The success or failure of Maybach hardly shows up on our results, but it is something I want to have a decision on by year-end. And everything is on the table.” When pressed further on the issue of a potential shutdown, Zetsch simply repeated his last statement: “Everything is on the table.”
Pulling the plug is certainly one option, but it’s not the only one. Daimler could try to sell the brand, but it’s unlikely that they’d find interested buyers given the brands plunging sales. They could attempt to partner with another automaker to trim production costs, and there has indeed been dialogue between Daimler and Aston Martin. The question would be how to structure such a partnership to benefit all parties involved, while maintaining the level of quality that Maybach customers have come to expect. This much is clear: we won’t be speculating on the fate of Maybach after the end of 2011.