Just days after ceasing production of its ultra-luxury Maybach vehicles, Daimler AG has announced that they will re-launch the brand as an affordable entry-level car designed to provide semi-reliable transportation and reduced property values for credit-challenged customers.
Maybach — now pronounced “mey-back”, like it is spelled — plans to offer two models in the United States. First to go on sale will be the Maybach Thirty-Two, a mid-size rear-wheel-drive sedan powered by a 3.2 liter inline six cylinder engine tuned for 90 hp, rendering the 0-60 run impossible. Maybach says the Thirty-Two will feature slow-ratio recirculating-ball steering and drum brakes all around for easy do-it-yourself maintenance. Options include a set of cement blocks for parking the car on soft ground such as the front lawn. The Thirty-Two will be pre-rusted at the factory in order to give each car its own unique look.
Maybach will follow up with the One Six, a small hatchback with a 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission that won’t go into fourth. The One Six’s engine has an auto-stop feature that automatically shuts the engine down any time the buyer has a job interview and restarts it when the supply of beer and/or cigarettes runs low. The One Six will have a long list of standard equipment, including a cassette stereo with two blown speakers and a two-tone paint-and-primer color scheme.
In order to simplify the buying process, Maybach plans to employ a no-haggle set-price policy that includes zero-down financing at 29.9% APR and one year of mimimum liability insurance. Buyers will have the option to purchase the “Your Car, Your Problem” extended warranty, which provides comprehensive coverage for all parts of the vehicle except the engine, driveline, body, interior, electrical system, fuel system and wear parts for ten minutes or as soon as the car leaves the dealer’s lot, whichever comes first.
Maybach will not officially comment on future product plans, but inside sources tell Autoblopnik the company is testing a full-size pickup truck with a few planks of wood where the bed should be, as well as a creepy-looking V8-powered cargo van.
Former General Motors marketing chief Joel Ewanick granted an exclusive interview to Autoblopnik in which he said he is going to take some time to decide on his next career step, but is eager to return to the automotive industry.
“When you’ve worked as many jobs as I have in such a short time, sometimes it’s good to take a break and get some perspective,” the Wharton graduate told Autoblopnik from his office at the Boeing Aircraft company, where he was just one hour into his new job as Vice President of Marketing for the Seattle-based aircraft manufacturer. In that time, Ewanick had already doubled the number of aircraft orders he generated at European rival Airbus, which had employed him as Director of Sales the previous afternoon.
“General Motors is one of the world’s great companies,” Ewanick said, breezing out of his office to accept a job as chief of marketing for Pepsi-Cola, where he increased overall market share by seven percent before being hired away for the rest of the afternoon by Johnson Wax. “Yes, it was harder to get things done than it was at Hyundai, or Nissan, or Porsche, or Home Depot, or Black & Decker, or Wal-Mart, or Pep Boys, or the State of Idaho, or even Dell, though maybe not as tough as General Dynamics or Burger King or Weyerhauser. Still, it’s cool to say you worked at General Motors, even when you’ve headed up marketing for companies like US Shoe and Dunder-Mifflin and Kroger Markets and been head of research for Corning Labs and DKNY.”
During a break for dinner, which he spent turning down positions at RJR Nabisco (“I hate smoking,” Ewanick explained) and Target (“Homophobes”) and briefly taking over as the Prime Minister of Uganda, Ewanick said he would love to work in the automotive industry again, and that he has had “productive talks” with Mazda, Ford, Chrysler-Fiat, Kia, Fisker, Honda, Volkswagen, BMW, Suzuki and Audi, some or all of which he planned to work for in the next week.
“The goal is to find a company where I can settle down for a good long time,” he told us as he contemplated a job offer from NBC-Universal and designed a sneaker that lets you jump to the moon. “Like maybe a month.”
As the sun set behind the picture window of his new office at 3M, which hired him just as our interview was drawing to a close, Mr. Ewanick leaned back in his chair, invented a kind of toothpaste that doesn’t make orange juice taste terrible, and picked up a picture of wife and children.
“These guys are all that really matters,” he said, pausing to wipe away a tear and cure cancer. “The people who love you. That’s what is really important.”
Daimler AG today announced the sale of its Mercedes-Benz division to a consortium of British investors doing business as New British Leyland LLC, which promised to revitalize the Mercedes-Benz brand with new British innovations while keeping the cars’ inherent Germanic character intact.
“We promise to revitalize the Mercedes-Benz brand with new British innovations while keeping the cars’ inherent Germanic character intact,” said New British Leyland’s Director of Public Affairs, Sir Colin Peter Fenwick-Gloustershire VII, QC, Ninth Earl of Stoulton-On-Sea.
Fenwick-Gloustershire said future Mercedes-branded cars will feature the same luxurious, solidly-built feel owners have come to expect, while incorporating British conveniences such as uneven panel gaps that provide extra ventilation, safety features such as climate-sensing engines that refuse to start when the weather is rainy and roads are slick, and random build-quality issues intended to cement the relationship between owners and dealers.
New British Leyland plans to move all of Mercedes’ design, development, and engineering to the United Kingdom, but will maintain a post office box in Stuttgart while retaining a handful of token Germans in important-sounding but otherwise ineffectual positions.
Germany’s governmental trade body, the Federaltradzenfahrtenzebung, issued a statement saying it harbored deep misgivings about the effects of British stewardship on a brand so closely identified with German technology and innovation, but that under European Union regulations, it was powerless to block the sale.
“We understand the Germans’ frustration,” Fenwick-Gloustershire told Autoblopnik. “We have long wanted to see brands like Rolls-Royce, MINI, and Bentley return to Britain, but their German owners have so far been reluctant to sell. Of course, if New British Leyland were able to acquire those companies, capacity constraints would most likely force us to put Mercedes-Benz back on the market. Perhaps once the Mercedes brand becomes synonymous with leaky sunroofs and dodgy electrical systems, the Jerries will reconsider.”