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by Jay Traugott
Despite the effort, Maybach just couldn't compete with less expensive, but just as luxurious brands.
As we first reported last November, Mercedes-Benz's uber luxury brand Maybach was given the axe due to poor sales and its inability to define itself. In accordance with the German automaker's shutdown plan, it's now official that production on all Maybach models has stopped for good.
Although there were only three models - the 57, 62 and Landaulet - it's still somewhat sad to see the brand go considering it was revived only back in 2003.
Originally Maybach was founded in 1909 as a diesel and gasoline engine developer but their first car didn't appear until 1919. From 1921 until 1940 it built luxury cars as well as engines, but switched entirely to tank engine production for Nazi Germany during World War II. Auto production was never restarted after the war and Daimler-Benz bought what was left of the company in 1960. In 1997 Daimler unveiled a concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show which they later developed into the first revived Maybach. The idea then was to launch a new extreme luxury brand to compete head-on with the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce.
Both of those brands are owned by Mercedes' two main domestic rivals, Volkswagen and BMW, respectively. Despite significant marketing efforts, Maybach failed to catch on a global scale - even in China where luxury sedans are in high demand. There was some talk last year between Maybach and Aston Martin for the two to jointly develop future models, but nothing ever materialized. Before it was shutdown, Maybach offered significant financial discounts on the remaining cars in stock. In the end, however, Maybach was the victim of poor branding as well as simply being too overpriced.