Bentley Mulsanne at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show (photo: Michael Campos).
DETROIT – Bentley chief executive Wolfgang Deurheimer told Reuters at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show that the “withdrawal of Maybach is a business opportunity for [the Bentley brand] and we’re going to use it.”
Maybach clients who can expect letters from the British ultra-luxury brand include Samuel L. Jackson, Jay-Z and King Juan Carlos of Spain. Daimler announced in November 2011 its plans to axe Maybach due to disappointing sales. Under chief executive Dieter Zetsche, Daimler is focusing on the Mercedes brand's S-Class, adding pricier variants designed to inherit and enlarge Maybach's super-rich client base. But Bentley and BMW AG’s Rolls-Royce are hoping that client base will defect to their swankiest models, the Mulsanne and Phantom, respectively.
“[Maybach clients] wanted something more exclusive than a Mercedes in the first place, so Rolls or Bentley would seem an obvious substitution,” said Michael Tyndall, an auto specialist with Barclays Capital in London. The lowest-priced Maybach model, the 57, starts at $380,000, roughly the price of the Rolls-Royce Phantom. The Bentley Mulsanne starts at $290,000.
View of the Bentley Mulsanne's grill (photo: Michael Campos).
Deurheimer is inviting Maybach clients for VIP tours of the Bentley factory in Crewe, England, and will “create a specific welcome zone inside our brand.”
Rolls-Royce would also “naturally welcome any current Maybach customers,” a company spokesman told Reuters, but “[seeking out those clients] and hunting them down is not the Rolls-Royce way.”
Daimler declined to comment on Bentley’s initiative but said the closure of Maybach will not affect availability of parts and support for existing vehicles.
Read the original article on Reuters here.