Car Trend Chronicles
Maybach is Redefining Luxury Cars
Latest updates make it stand out among not only people on the streets, but also the few makers which dare to compete with it
- Luxury brand has a strong image but sales which have not followed suit yet
- Mercedes-Benz once tried to shake things up with dedicated models but failed
- Now, the strategy of sprucing up its own models has proven quite successful
Until not long ago, the automotive world lived by the notion that making a car “better” meant giving it more of everything. Larger dimensions, faster powertrain, more equipment, you name it. The most usual result of that train of thought was the oversized, all-black limousines with a ton of items inside we used to visualize when talking about the standards of luxury automobiles.
The problems of that notion didn’t take long to appear. Too much stuff makes the car heavy, which hinders performance. More powerful engines usually go against fuel efficiency. Too many items clutter the dashboard with knobs and buttons. Excessive use of chrome and gold accents have become tacky, and so on. Any automakers which wanted to stay on top of this market had to adapt.
Remind me of Maybach, please
The modern-day Maybach was brought back to life by Mercedes-Benz in 1997 as an independent division. While the 57 and 62 models had enough content to stand out from the S-Class cousin and compete with the Rolls-Royces, their image turned out too weak to convince a sufficient number of buyers and the German experiment finished 15 years later. Now, things have changed again.
People from Mercedes-Benz decided to merge Maybach as a brand new, ultra-luxury sub-brand. This way, the new models get a strong image from the very beginning while keeping enough distance from their lesser relatives to ensure a peaceful co-living at the lineup. While striking concept cars and an improved S-Class were totally expected to come, this venture was only getting started.
What has it done lately?
First of all, worked on models from the stylish Cabriolet depicted above to the rugged G-Class. Rather than depending on a body style, the new Maybach has created a design identity of its own by applying modern elements, like wheels with thin, numerous spokes and exclusive design for bumpers and grille, and classic elements like two-tone body paint and more chrome trim than usual.
Inside, you’ll find premium materials everywhere, electric operation to close the doors and hand you the seatbelts, extremely quiet ride, the signature pair of silver champagne flutes, and magnificent rear thrones with adjustments in every imaginable way and more. The GLS, for example, had three of the five rear seats simply removed in order to make even more room for the remaining two lucky ones.
Luxury through individuality
All those items make Mercedes-Maybach a safe way for potential customers to embody their true selves. They have particular wishes, they are rich enough to pursue them, and they don’t really mind being considered ostentatious: we’re talking of large cars with two-tone paint, lots of chrome, and silent ride. Once you know what you want, all you need is to leave the company in charge and wait for the result.
This new venture has enabled the German automaker to compete with Aston Martin, Bentley and, especially, Rolls-Royce without the risks that come from creating a whole new model for that. Naturally, this new strategy only makes sense when applied to models whose image is already strong, like the SL, the G-Class and, above all, the S-Class — not many others are expected to receive the Maybach treatment.
People at Mercedes-Benz has finally found a way to make the Maybach brand competitive again — hopefully, even more than it once was. What is your take on those models? Do you consider them enough to compete with their biggest rivals or would you rather see more effort from the maker into differentiating them from their own regular trim levels? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions below!