To revive its upmarket Maybach brand, Mercedes-Benz is preparing a new limousine based on a modified version of the next-generation S-class’s contemporary rear-wheel drive underpinnings and electronics platform. This hi-tech saloon is intended to replace the 57 and 62 and will be produced in two distinct lengths, with sales expected to start in 2014, according to a high-ranking Mercedes source.
It was also disclosed that the new Maybach will feature a “traditional three-box design,” in line with buyer tastes.
There has been plenty of speculation that the Maybach brand will be axed due to poor sales in a worsening economy. At the Detroit auto show, Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche said that "everything is on the table" when it comes to Maybach's future, including the possibility of closing it.
But then the global financial markets are now recovering and this has resulted to renewed interest from original customers who are looking for a repeat purchase. This realization prompted Mercedes to commit to a second-generation limousine that will “act as a technological showcase” for the rest of its line-up.
Initially, Maybach was created to be profitable at 800 cars annually. But since the launch of the 57 and 62 in 2002, it has struggled to sell half that number each annually. Insiders say that the company has realized its mistake in choosing to base the Maybach on the platform of a two-generations-old S-class, the W140. [via autocar]