Daimler CEO Confirms Maybach SUV; Dismisses Audi Q1 Competitor
SUVs are the talk of the automotive world these days, with offerings ranging from massive people haulers like the Escalade to jacked-up hatchbacks that offer little more than a little extra ground clearance and all-wheel drive. Regardless of how irritating they are to some purists, these are what buyers want, and manufacturers can’t build them fast enough. Recent rumors have been circulating around Mercedes possibly planning a Maybach- SUV and a subcompact crossover to battle the Audi Q1. But while a new report claims that the Maybach rumor is true, it also claims that the subcompact rumor is false.
The report comes from the folks at Motoring.com.au, who had a conversation with Daimler executive, Dieter Zetsche. According to the report, Zetsche said that with Rolls Royce and Bentley both rolling out their own SUVs, the time is absolutely right for Maybach to have one of its own. Unlike the Bentley and Rolls people-haulers, however, the Maybach will be reliant on the product cycle of the Mercedes GLS, which it will be based on. The Bentley and Rolls SUVs are stand-alone models built separately from their respective parent companies’ product lines.
One SUV that appears to be totally out of the question is the rumored Mercedes-Benz Q1 fighter. According to Zetsche, that would require Mercedes to go into the A or B segment, which would step on the toes of Daimler-owned Smart. In the same breath, he also dismissed any competitor to the pint-sized A1.
Continue reading to hear my take on what this means.
Why it matters
The Mercedes-Maybach SUV is no shocker really. With Bentley and Rolls-Royce willing to build stand-alone SUVs, Daimler would be crazy not to spruce up the GLS to compete with them. As for the Q1 competitor, I think Mercedes is in a holding pattern to see how BMW and Audi do. If they have loads of success building these hatchbacks-turned-crossovers, then you’d better be prepared to see Mercedes dive right in with them. There is no way that Daimler would just turn its nose up to a stack of cash if this segment takes off.