|Fate||Absorbed by Mercedes-Benz as a sub-brand|
Maybach Motorenbau (German pronunciation: [ˈmaɪ.bax]) is a defunct German car manufacturer that today exists as a sub-brand of Mercedes-Benz. The company was founded in 1909 by Wilhelm Maybach and his son, originally a subsidiary of Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH and was itself known as Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH until 1912.
In 1960, Maybach was acquired by Daimler-Benz. The brand returned as a standalone ultra-luxury car brand in the late 20th century, sharing significant components with Mercedes-Benz. After slow sales, the Maybach name returned once again as a sub-brand of Mercedes-Benz, which is owned by Daimler AG. Daimler currently produces an ultra-luxury edition of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class under the Mercedes-Maybach brand.
1909–1940: Early history
Wilhelm Maybach was technical director of the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) until he left in 1907. On 23 March 1909 he founded the new company, Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH (literally “Aircraft Engine Building Company”), with his son Karl Maybach as director. In 1912 they renamed it to Maybach-Motorenbau GmbH (“Maybach Engine Construction Company”). The company originally developed and manufactured diesel and petrol engines for Zeppelins, and then rail cars. Its Maybach Mb.IVa was used in aircraft and airships of World War I.
The company first built an experimental car in 1919, introduced as a production model two years later at the Berlin Motor Show. Between 1921 and 1940, the company produced a variety of opulent vehicles, now regarded as classics. The company also continued to build heavy-duty diesel engines for marine and rail purposes.
Maybach had a British subsidiary, Maybach Gears Ltd, that specialised in gearboxes. In 1938 in conjunction with Dr Henry Merritt they produced a gearbox and steering system – the ‘Merritt-Maybach’ – for the abortive Nuffield A.16E1 Cruiser tank design.
During the Second World War, Maybach produced the engines for Nazi Germany‘s medium and heavy tanks such as the Panzer IV, and the Tiger I (Maybach HL230) and Tiger II (Maybach HL230), as well as the light tank, Panzer II. The engine plant was one of several industries targeted at Friedrichshafen.
After WW II the factory performed some repair work, but automotive production was never restarted, and some 20 years later, the company was renamed MTU Friedrichshafen. Daimler-Benz purchased the company in 1960. Post-1960 the company was mainly used to make special editions of Mercedes cars in the W108 and W116 model range, which were virtually hand built. These cars however carried the Mercedes badge and serial numbers.
Daimler presented a luxury concept car at the 1997 Tokyo Motorshow. A production model based on it was introduced in two sizes – the Maybach 57 and the Maybach 62, reflecting the lengths of the automobiles in decimetres. In 2005, the 57S was added, powered by a 6.0 L V12 bi-turbo engine producing 450 kW (603 hp) and 1,000 N·m (738 lbf·ft) of torque, and featuring various cosmetic touches.
Initially, Daimler-Chrysler predicted annual sales of 2,000 worldwide with 50 per cent coming from the United States; however, these expectations never materialized. In 2007, Mercedes bought back 29 US dealers, reducing the total from 71 to 42. In 2010, only 157 Maybachs were sold worldwide, compared to 2,711 similarly priced Rolls-Royces. Just 3,000 have been sold worldwide since the brand was revived in 2002.
Daimler announced in November 2011 that Maybach would cease to be a brand by 2013 and manufactured the last Maybach vehicle in December 2012. This was because of poor sales.
With poor sales expectations and the heavy impact of the 2007-08 financial crisis, Daimler AG undertook a complete review of the Maybach division, approaching Aston Martin to engineer and style the next generation of Maybach models along with the next generation of Lagondas. According to Automotive News, only 44 Maybachs had been sold in the U.S. through October 2011.
An article in Fortune noted that Mercedes had missed out on the chance to purchase Rolls-Royce and Bentley when they were up for sale in the 1990s:
“Mercedes backpedaled and decided it needed to be in the ultra-luxury business too, but it went after it in a remarkably clumsy way.”
It further stated that the first Maybach models had poor driving dynamics compared to its contemporaries from Rolls-Royce and Bentley:
“Mercedes took an aging S-class chassis and plopped an absurdly elongated body on it … rather than develop a new car from the wheels up, as BMW did with Rolls-Royce, or cleverly use the underpinnings of an existing model like the Volkswagen Phaeton for a new Bentley.”
Furthermore, Maybachs were never advertised as owner-driven vehicles, as the company believed that the luxury amenities would be sufficient to drive sales, and they even insisted that auto journalists (who usually test drive the vehicle) ride in the backseat.
Another suggestion for Maybach’s struggles was that parent Daimler had failed to differentiate it from its Mercedes-Benz brand. While all three ultra-luxury marques share platforms and engines with other luxury brands from their parent auto company, Maybachs are built alongside the Mercedes-Benz S-Class flagship sedan, whereas Rolls-Royce and Bentley are assembled in England (separate from the rest of BMW and Volkswagen Group‘s respective production plants), and thus are regarded as being more “exclusive”. Furthermore, the Maybach’s pedigree was virtually unknown outside of Germany, unlike its British rivals which have long enjoyed renown worldwide; indeed the 2006 Rolls-Royce Phantom‘s interior evokes memories of a 1930s car while the Maybach 57S’s inside makes no reference to its marque’s history.
In November 2011, Daimler’s CEO Dieter Zetsche announced that the Maybach-brand would cease to exist in 2012, making room for other models of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The Maybach-limousines were still being sold up to the year 2013, but after that, the name “Maybach” would not be used anymore. On 14 August 2012, parent Daimler AG announced the official discontinuation of Maybach by releasing a price sheet officially discontinuing the Maybach 57, 57S, 62, 62S and Landaulet. On 17 December 2012, the last Maybach-vehicle was manufactured in Sindelfingen.
The company announced that the line would be replaced by the next-generation of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Model W222, due for the 2014 model year, particularly the long wheelbase S-Class Pullman. An executive told a Frankfurt newspaper that “Daimler came to the conclusion that the sales chances for the Mercedes brand were better than that of Maybach.”
In November 2014, Daimler announced the revival of the Maybach as sub brand of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W222), positioned as an upscale version akin to the more sporty Mercedes AMG sub brand. In anticipation of its April 2015 launch, the flagship Mercedes-Maybach S600 was unveiled at car shows in Los Angeles, United States and Guangzhou, China, and the production model at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.
Assembled on the same Sindelfingen line used for the S-Class, the model is targeted against the Bentley Flying Spur and Rolls-Royce Ghost. At 5.453 metres (17.89 ft) long with a wheelbase of 3.365 metres (11.04 ft) (132.5 inches), approximately 20 centimetres (7.9 in) longer than the long-wheelbase S-Class models. The Mercedes-Maybach will be available as S500 (S550 in the US) and S600 models, with 4matic all-wheel-drive optional with the V8 engine. Acceleration is 0 to 60 miles per hour (0 to 97 km/h) in 5.0 seconds. The base car has several colour finish options and the choice between a three-seat rear bench, or two seats reclining. Options include: air-conditioned, heated and massaging seats; heated armrests; system to pump scented, ionised air around the cabin; and a 1540 watt Burmester 3D surround sound system with 24 speakers. Maybach S500 assembly in Pune, India, began in September 2015, making India the second country to produce a Maybach.
1919 Maybach W1: Test car based on a DMG chassis
1930 Maybach DSH: Doppel-Sechs-Halbe (“half a twelve cylinder”) 1930–37
1930 Maybach DS7 Zeppelin: 7L V12, 150 hp (112 kW)
1931 Maybach W6: Same engine as W5, longer wheelbase. 1931–33
1931 Maybach DS8 Zeppelin: 8L V12, 200 hp (150 kW)
1934 Maybach W6 DSG: Featuring a twin overdrive transmission system.
1935 Maybach SW35: 3.5L 140 hp (104 kW) I6
1936 Maybach SW38: 3.8L 140 hp (104 kW) I6
1939 Maybach SW42: 4.2L 140 hp (104 kW) I6
1945 Maybach JW61: 3.8L 145 hp (108 kW) I6
W2 were the 5.7 L inline six engines built for and ordered by Spyker. Not all were purchased, and Karl had to build cars featuring the engines to offset costs.
Around 1800 Maybachs were built before WW II.
2009 Maybach 57 Zeppelin and Maybach 62 Zeppelin
2011 Maybach Guard
The Maybach 57 accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in about 5.1 seconds; the Maybach 62 and 57 S, about 4.8 seconds; the Maybach 62 S and the Landaulet in 4.5 seconds. This rapid acceleration is noteworthy for cars weighing well over 6,000 pounds (2.7 metric tons). Maybachs in general are extremely powerful: the 57 has 518 bhp (386 kW; 525 PS); the 57 S, 559 bhp (417 kW; 567 PS); the 62, 570 bhp (425 kW; 578 PS); the 62 S, 612 bhp (456 kW; 620 PS), and the Landaulet, 633 bhp (472 kW; 642 PS).
Options for the Maybach 62 and 62S included 18-way power rear seats (replacing 14-way), power side and rear sunshade curtains, cooled rear seats, wireless headphones, electrochromic panoramic sunroof with solar panel for vehicle-off ventilation (replacing two choices of power sunroof) and interior partition with power, electrochromic glass divider.
Maybach I and II, two World War II bunker complexes named after the engines.
Maybach Brand Review
All Maybach pictures in my picturecollection:
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- Neil, Dan (February 7, 2015). “Mercedes-Maybach S600: The Silence Is Deafening”. The Wall Street Journal. p. D11.
- “Mercedes-Maybach S500 and S600 Launched in India”. Archived from the original on 2015-10-03.
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“Lockers Hold Spare Wheel Of Stream Line Auto”, Popular Mechanics, October 1932, a streamlined auto made in co-operation with Junkers engineers, only one built
Maybach S600 and 900, All About Cars, 2016