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Maybach was a mistake

Mercedes-Benz sales and marketing boss Joachim Schmidt says purchasing the failed uber-luxury brand was an error.

The Koreans starred, the Japanese mounted a comeback, and One Ford hit the headlines with an extended family of Focus-based newcomers that it is certain to make a big hit in Australia. But it was one car and the commitment of its company chief that made the most impact as America fought back on the opening day of the 2011 North American International Motor Show.

Speaking at Detroit motor show, Mercedes-Benz sales and marketing boss Joachim Schmidt says purchasing the failed uber-luxury brand was an error.

Now the German car manufacturer will compete against Rolls-Royce and Bentley with three of its own S-Class models in the next few years, he says.

Maybach was started as a German luxury car manufacturer in 1909 and was revived in 1997 when it was bought by Daimler.

However, the global financial crisis took its toll on the prestigious brand and Daimler announced in November that Maybach would cease in 2013.

Admitting the purchase of Maybach was a mistake in the first place, Schmidt says the brand rallied last year, selling 210, up almost a fifth. Over the whole ownership period, only 3000 Maybach were sold.

"At the end of the day we have broken even on the Maybach project," he says. "Maybach will continue until 2013 when we bring in the new S-Class. We will have three S-Class variants with the potential to attract Rolls-Royce customers."

He says he does not believe it is not a stretch for the company to produce vehicles from the light class, through to Roller status.