Maybach Needs More Than a Few Moguls to Survive
(Wall Street Journal) — From its rear-seat cinema screen to leather seats made from specially bred southern German bulls to its starting price of $375,250, the Maybach is the most opulent ride German luxury car maker Daimler AG has to offer. But for Daimler’s chief executive, Dieter Zetsche, it has turned into a clunker of a problem. The Mercedes-Benz car maker resuscitated the Maybach brand nearly a decade ago in the hopes of profiting from a renaissance in super-luxury sedans. But almost from the start, the über-luxury division’s sales have faltered, dwindling to fewer than 200 Maybachs sold world-wide last year. Finding a fix for the brand has now become a priority at Daimler, and Mr. Zetsche has said he wants to decide its fate by the end of the year. Within the company, executives say the pressure is on to have a resolution in hand sooner than later. One possibility that’s been under discussion for some time, people close to the company say, is a partnership with British sports-car maker Aston Martin, with which it’s collaborated before. Aston Martin built a concept model of a potential crossover, the Lagonda, on Mercedes’s GL platform a couple of years ago and the car makers have explored other ways to work together.