Profile: Who is Maybach?

Profile: Who is Maybach?

Maybach 62 S

As sub-brands of manufacturers go, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one more luxurious in nature than Maybach.

With a long and storied history, the Maybach name is very much associated with Mercedes-Benz, thanks not least to its 60-plus years of ownership of the once family-owned business.

How did Maybach get started?

Maybach’s story began way back in 1909, with Wilhelm Maybach – a co-founder of Daimler (DMG) – and his son Karl creating a new company, Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH, which focused on building aircraft engines.

By 1912, the business had expanded into other engine types, which included building powerplants for the likes of Zeppelins and rail cars. By World War I, the Maybach MB. IVa could be found in numerous aircraft and airships.

With the war over, 1919 saw Maybach experiment with car design, showing off its first attempt at the Berlin motor show in 1921.

For nearly 20 years, Maybach produced a number of luxury vehicles, including the Maybach SW line. However, when World War II came around, Maybach switched back to engine manufacturing.

This time, Maybach supplied the Nazi war machine with engine units for the famed Panzer and Tiger tanks – the Maybach engine plant was even targeted by the British and US air forces in the bombing of the town of Friedrichshafen.

Following the end of the war, Maybach was able to repair some of the damage done, but automotive production never restarted.

Who owns Maybach?

In 1960, after 15 years of not manufacturing automobiles, Maybach was bought by Daimler-Benz – the company that would eventually become the Mercedes-Benz Group as it is today.

Mercedes 300SE W108 1966

Initially, Daimler-Benz had Maybach producing special editions of its W108 and W116 model ranges. The cars were effectively hand built, but ultimately carried the Mercedes badge, with not much exposure for the Maybach name at this point.

Beyond this, not much happened with the Maybach name until its revival in the late 1990s.

Maybach as a standalone brand

A luxury concept car was unveiled at the 1997 Tokyo motor show, with the Maybach 57 and Maybach 62 models subsequently introduced to launch Maybach as a fully-fledged standalone brand. Both these cars were based on Mercedes’ W140 S-Class platform. 

The 57 and 62 monikers reflect the respective length of the cars in decimeters – the former was expected to be driven by its owner, while the longer, limo-esque 62 was designed with a chauffeur in mind.

Maybach 62 S interior

Powering the two models was the M285 5.5-litre twin-turbo V12 that was developed specifically for the Maybach duo, serving up 518bhp. In 2005, the 57 S was introduced, which offered a larger 6.0-litre unit that put out 612bhp – a 62 S followed in 2006 with the same engine.

Maybach as a standalone company found itself threatened in 2011, with Daimler eventually announcing that Maybach would cease to operate as a brand in 2013 due to poor sales and its inability to keep up with the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley.


However, all was not lost for Maybach, which was revived once more, this time in 2014 to act as a sub-brand of Mercedes, with the official labelling of Mercedes-Maybach.

The existing S-Class was used as a springboard for this new partnership, with the Mercedes-Maybach S600 launching in 2015.

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600

Today, Mercedes-Maybach has branched out from the S-Class platform, moving onto the likes of the GLS SUV and the EQS EV, while the G-Wagon was utilised for a brief period.

The Maybach logo

Since its inception, the Maybach logo has stayed fairly consistent, with only the introduction of an uppercase inscription of the company’s name differing from the general look of the branding.

The two ‘M’s on the primary logo stand for Maybach-Motorenbau, the name the company took after World War I when it began to produce automobiles.

Maybach logo