Daimler is looking to start pumping out Mercedes-Maybach SUVs in addition to the opulent cars, all in a quest for domination of the world, or at least the local country club. CEO Dieter Zetsche said during the Detroit Auto Show that such models would likely be made, and during the AMG C63 launch he said in an interview with Motoring that a Mercedes-Maybach SUV would definitely not be a stand-alone model.
Dr. Z explained that such an SUV would be based on current or next-generation Mercedes-Benz models, similar to the new Maybach S 600 limo. Right now the Germans are getting in on the action as high-end car sales have skyrocketed, fueled by a surge in millionaires around the globe. The Mercedes-Maybach models would go up against offerings from Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Lamborghini, Maserati and others.
The GL seems like obvious choices for the Maybach ultra-luxury treatment, considering it is the brand’s flagship SUV. It’s also possible that Daimler will greenlight an ML or G-Class version, combining opulence with extreme utility. The likely target launch is sometime in 2018.
Luxury SUVs provide big profit margins for automakers, something everyone has seen clearly illustrated by Porsche and its Cayenne line.
Interestingly enough, during the interview with Motoring, Zetsche was adamant that the Mercedes-Benz brand won’t add a new SUV that slots below the GLA-Class. Even though the Audi Q1 is launching soon, he says that the automaker has no plans to set up another rivalry. Rumors are flying around that BMW is working on something smaller than the X1, which pretty much leaves the model name X0 or X-1 (that’s “negative one”). While it’s not unheard of, Mercedes, Audi and BMW usually go head-to-head in just about every product category possible. This one will be an exception.
That doesn’t mean that Smart, which is also owned by Daimler, couldn’t get in on the action with a tiny crossover, like the Forstars Sports Utility Coupe concept that appeared at the Paris auto show back in 2012.