Autoblog Podcast #258Tue, 29 Nov 2011
Toyota FT86 and Subaru BRZ, Chevrolet Volt fires, Maybach done, Jaguar XF Sportbrake, Cadillac diesel
Episode #258 of the Autoblog Podcast is here with Chris, Dan and Zach this week. Topics include the Toyota FT-86 and Subaru BRZ coupes, the investigation into Chevrolet Volt fires, Mercedes-Benz winding down Maybach, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake, and the possibility of diesel-powered Cadillacs. Your questions and comments power the end of the 'cast, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. We've embedded our Q&A module after the jump for you to scroll through and follow along, too. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #258:
Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #258 LIVEMon, 28 Nov 2011
We record Episode #258 of the Autoblog Podcast tonight, and you can drop us your questions via our Q&A module below. Check out our discussion topics or chime in to help determine what else the crew chats about this evening. Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so, and if you want to take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.
Discussion Topics for Autoblog Podcast Episode #258
Mercedes-Benz killing Maybach in 2013, replacing with S600 PullmanFri, 25 Nov 2011
According to an unnamed Mercedes-Benz source speaking with AutoWeek, the German automaker is killing off its Maybach line in 2013.
The unsurprising news comes after the brand was resurrected in 2002, but failed to meet sales expectations with its two core models, the Maybach 57 and 62. Further solidifying its fate, a deal with Aston Martin to aid in the development of future Maybachs fell through earlier this year.
According to the AutoWeek insider, the plan is to continue to sell both Maybach models through the end of 2013, after which the fifth-generation S-Class will go on sale. When that happens, three new variants of the S-Class will be available, including an all-new, range-topping S600 that brings back the Pullman moniker and may be better suited to competing with the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce.
Maybach Cruiserio Coupe bites the dust as Xenatec declares bankruptcyMon, 07 Nov 2011
You just can't catch a break in this world if your name is Maybach. The superlux Daimler division has had trouble selling enough vehicles to seriously challenge the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce - divisions of arch-rivals Volkswagen and BMW, respectively. It can't seem to broker a viable deal with Aston Martin to produce a new range. Even that one-off Exelero wasn't paid for in full after being purchased by a certain hip-hop artist. Now the last ambitious project by the double-M marque appears to have floundered, too.
As you may recall, a German coachbuilder called Xenatec recently launched an initiative, with Maybach's blessing, to produce a series of hyper-exclusive million-dollar Maybach coupes. The idea stemmed from Xenatec's existing business producing armored luxury cars for those with the means. Unfortunately, the program doesn't seem to have attracted enough buyers to make it viable, and the associated costs have reportedly now bankrupted the company.
All-in-all, eight or so Maybach Cruiserio Coupes are reported to have been sold, with another three in various states of build seeking buyers. We're not sure who would complete them even if they were sold, however, as the bulk of Xenatec's workforce has apparently either quit or been laid off.
Maybach and Aston Martin alliance talks fall apartTue, 27 Sep 2011
If you have, like us, been salivating at the notion of a new generation of Maybach and Lagonda ultra-luxury crafts built by Aston Martin, we've got some bad news: According to reports emanating from Germany, talks between AML and Daimler have broken down.
The proposal under negotiation would have seen Daimler outsourcing production of the next family of Maybach models to Aston Martin, which in return would benefit from Mercedes-Benz platforms and engines - not only for its svelte GTs, but also for its own future Lagonda line of limousines and luxury SUVs. That, and a boatload of money - or at least that's what AML was reportedly seeking, an issue that served as the stumbling block over which the deal reportedly collapsed.
That's not to say the two parties couldn't still reach some sort of a compromise, but short of that, Daimler may opt to either shut down Maybach altogether, find another partner, or take another stab at building new models internally.
Maybach celebrates Daimler's 125th with special edition 57 SFri, 23 Sep 2011
Daimler may not be able to sell very many Maybachs, but there's a flip-side to that equation: Rarity. Exclusivity. Qualities which a Maybach has in spades. But if every tycoon and magnate in your elite neighborhood already has one, and you want to stand out a bit (but not too much) from the crowd, you're going to want something even more exclusive. Like the Edition 125!
That exclamation mark - like the concept currently on display in Frankfurt - is part of the name, not added emphasis on our part, and helps underscore the claim which Daimler lays on the origins of the automobile which it now celebrates a century and a quarter later.
The party starts off with the 57 S model, that being the (relatively) shorter-wheelbase sedan with the twin-turbo V12 that's just had its output increased to 630 horsepower. That's power that'd make many a supercar blush, but Maybach didn't stop there: for the special edition, the automaker gave the 57 a new front grille, a set of high-contrast 20-inch alloys and the signature of Wilheml Maybach (he who helped Gottlieb Daimler invent the automobile) embroidered into the glovebox lid.
Birdman can't pay for his new $8 million Maybach ExeleroFri, 19 Aug 2011
What kind of person would order an $8 million Maybach? The same sort who'd take another Maybach and hack it up with a saw and blowtorch. That's right, a hip-hop mega star.
Long before Jay-Z and Kanye West shot the music video for "Otis", Bryan "Birdman" Williams had placed his order for his very own Maybach Exelero. The price tag: a whopping $8 million. Pocket change for a guy worth over $100 million with a Veyron and a Landaulet in the garage. But now he seems to be running into some trouble.
Apparently, Birdman still owes money on his other seven-figure rides, and has yet to fork over the eight mil to the Exelero's current owner Arnaud Massartic. Until he does, it remains the European entrepreneur's property, though Birdman very well might find a way to work it into his next video just the same.
Jay-Z and Kanye go all Mad Max on a MaybachFri, 12 Aug 2011
If you've got money and taste, you might choose a new Bentley or Rolls-Royce. But if you've only got the former, you might be more inclined to go with a Maybach. In fact, as often as Phantoms show up in hip-hop videos, we're pretty sure the only people buying Maybachs are Daimler executives and rap stars.
Case in point, the latest music video from Jay-Z and Kanye West. With plenty of Benjamins between them to burn, the hip-hop mega stars take a new Maybach limousine and shred it up all Mad Max style in the video for "Otis," the single off their latest collaboration Watch the Throne. Follow the jump to see them make their own Landaulet on a budget with a blowtorch while they wax lyrical about their Benz, their other Benz and their other other Benz.
Maybach could become Mercedes-Benz sub-brandWed, 22 Jun 2011
When you're arriving in a twin-turbocharged, twelve-cylinder Maybach limo, there's no reason you should ever have to be late. Except, maybe, to make a fashionable entrance. But up at the corporate level, the entire Maybach brand is being slowed down as critical decisions about its future are being undertaken.
Last week, we reported that a decision on what path Maybach would take going forward would be due at the start of next month, but the latest reports indicate that the timeframe has been extended as further options are being considered.
The previous options under consideration were twofold: either relaunch the brand with production outsourced to Aston Martin - which suddenly finds itself with excess production capacity - or shut it down completely. And those are still two very real options. Word has it that Aston has put together four concept cars for the Daimler brass to consider, all based on the next-generation S-Class platform (and thankfully not the old one).
Aston or Bust? Maybach's fate to be decided next monthMon, 13 Jun 2011
2011 Maybach 62 - Click above for high-res image gallery
What will become of Maybach? That question has been rattling around the halls of Daimler headquarters in Stuttgart for some time now. But all questions will be answered, and answered soon: according to reports, the German automaker is currently evaluating prototypes and propositions for its top-end marque, and will make its decision next month.
So, what are the options? On the one hand, Daimler could kill the Maybach brand altogether. It was a notion ill conceived and even more poorly executed, taking an old platform and building a new flagship atop it. In that way, it was sort of like the Chrysler Crossfire, only far more costly to both the buyer and manufacturer. On the other hand, Daimler could opt for the long-time-coming proposition of contracting the production (and possibly much of the development) of a new generation of Maybachs to Aston Martin.