End of the road for Daimler's luxury car brand Maybach

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The Independent Online

Daimler is to scrap the Maybach, its range of luxury cars once favoured by the Egyptian emperor Haile Selassie and the boxing champion Max Schmeling, and whose heritage stretches back almost a century.

The German group announced yesterday it was to target the luxury market with its Mercedes-Benz brand "and no longer with the Maybach".

The cars, which were on the market at €300,000 (£260,000) each, consistently failed to hit sales targets of 1,000 a year. It sold just 200 in 2010. Daimler is believed to have spent €1bn on resurrecting the brand after 60 years to compete with Rolls-Royce and Bentley.

Yet, the company said yesterday that there would be "no successor" to the latest Maybach model when the last one rolls off the production line in 2013: "After a discussion of the pros and cons, it was decided that in the future, Daimler will focus entirely on its core brand in the luxury segment: Mercedes-Benz, the world's most valuable premium car brand." It aims to sell the most luxury cars "by the end of this decade at the latest".

Mercedes-Benz will increase its own S-Class range with three new models to make an "even more attractive offer to the existing Maybach customers as well as the owners of competing brands, thus increasing sales opportunities and profit potential".

The company's history stretches back to Wilhelm Maybach, who became a great friend of Gottlieb Daimler. He left to set up his own company in 1909, and less than a decade later his son had renamed the group Maybach-Motorenbau and released its first car. The luxury vehicles were popular among a series of industrialists, statesmen and celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s.

Daimler relaunched the brand in 2002, when Jurgen Hubbert, then head of Mercedes-Benz cars, said it was "time to kiss the sleeping beauty awake".