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Auto blogWed, 08 Feb 2012 18:01:00 EST
Daimler is shuttering Maybach in 2013 after seven years of production. In that time, the company's ultra-ultra-luxury arm managed to sell just 3,000 units, and CAR reports Daimler lost somewhere around $500,000 on each and every one of them.
Even with a ludicrous price tag of over $370,000 for an "entry" Maybach 57, the brand couldn't quite recoup the dizzying $1.33 billion Daimler poured into it since its (re)inception. Rumors ignited over a possible tie up with Aston Martin that would have resulted in a range of new and attractive models, but Daimler has instead decided to snuff out Maybach altogether.
We can hardly blame them.
Brazil is the place to be, apparently. Toyota has been investing in the South American country, as has BMW, which announced a $261 million investment in October 2012, on the heels of an Audi factory announcement in San José Chiapa. The high-end immigration is only set to continue, as Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar-Land Rover have both announced plans to set up manufacturing operations there.
Mercedes is the big news here, as its new facility will see the German manufacturer invest 170-million euros for production of its next-generation C-Class and upcoming GLA-Class. "Brazil is an important future market. With our local production we accept the challenge and take on the competition," noted Andreas Renschler, Management Board member for Production and Procurement at Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans. Production is expected to begin by 2016.
Jaguar-Land Rover, meanwhile, isn't so concrete in its plans. The news of its investment in South America comes from a job posting for a plant quality manager in Brazil that was picked up by the UK's AutoCar. "Portuguese language skills will be definite advantage" for interested candidates, according to the job listing. The want ad follows on the heels of remarks by Jaguar Land Rover's Dr. Ralph Speth, who said there are "very intensive discussions" with Brazil's government. Unlike Mercedes, there's no mention of which vehicles will be produced in South America, although AutoCar thinks the Freelander, sold in the US as the LR2, is a leading contender.
No one in their right mind has ever accused German tuners Mansory of being subtle. So, when our Geneva team wandered across the Mansory Speranza - A Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen that has been denuded of its roof and spackled inside with quilted leather and red carbon fiber - they didn't ask a lot of existential questions. Why does the Speranza exist? Because Germans are weird sometimes, that's why.
Forget for a moment that you'll have to pay Mansory hundreds of thousands of euros (we're guessing, no pricing information has been revealed) for the privilege of converting your G-Class into something that looks like a Suzuki Samurai, and prepare to be impressed by the details. The tuning house has increased the output of the Mercedes V8 to a healthy 700 horsepower and 668 pound-feet of torque. The wheels are 24-inches, and wear almost unbelievable 305-section ultra-high performance Vresdestein tires. Carbon fiber can be found nearly everywhere one looks, including making up the housing for the spare tire. Oh, and there are leather pillows for the backseats... no word on whether they're standard or optional, but we're looking in to it.