Daimler AG and Aston Martin are “close” to deciding on a cooperation agreement for the ultra-luxury Maybach brand, according to Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche who spoke at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
He said that Daimler has been negotiating with Aston Martin but he didn’t give details. Maybach, a German luxury brand that was very popular in the 1930s, was reintroduced in 2002 but it had failed to become a major contender to BMW AG's Rolls-Royce and Volkswagen AG's Bentley.
It had aimed to sell over 1,000 each year but in 2003, it only sold 600 and in 2011, just 200 were sold. In comparison, Rolls-Royce sold 2,700 vehicles in 2010 while Bentley sold 5,100.
Aside from Maybach’s declining sales, Daimler also is faced with the task of taking back its top spot as Audi has taken Mercedes’ position as the world's second-largest luxury-car brand, according to Autonews. Daimler and Aston Martin had collaborated on the 2009 Lagonda concept car.
Last June, Automotive News Europe reported that Daimler is studying several options for Maybach. A source said that one solution would be to partner with Aston Martin, which will then produce the second-generation Maybach.
Aston Martin has designed four concepts for Daimler based on the next-generation S-class architecture. Aston Martin may get access to Daimler's four-wheel-drive technology for an off-road vehicle it is thinking about building based on the Mercedes-Benz GL. Aston Martin is also expected to gain from Daimler's range of fuel-efficient diesel and gasoline engines.