Maybach: Strong sales in China drive double sales

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Carmaker Daimler plans to double sales of its luxury Maybach vehicles, buoyed by strong demand in China.

Daimler, which also owns Mercedes-Benz, sold a record 12,000 luxury Maybachs last year.

They are used widely as limousines in China, the car's most popular market.

Prices start at $173,000 (£130,000) for the latest model. However, this can rise to more than $250,000 with the addition of optional extras like silver champagne flutes.

Buyers also often go for gadgets such as massaging calf rests and automated rear doors.

The new Maybach model, based on a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, is designed for chauffeured trips, and will compete with the likes of the Bentley Flying Spur and the Rolls-Royce Ghost.

Daimler says it wants to have a stronger focus on large luxury vehicles like the S-Class as part of its strategy to improve profits.

The growth rate in China for Maybach was in double figures while Russia, South Korea and the US have shown strong sales, according to its chief executive Ola Kaellenius.

Other luxury carmakers have also seen strong sales in China. Rolls-Royce's parent company BMW said earlier this month that its third-quarter profits grew almost 10% due to pent-up demand, primarily from Asia.

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In September, Rolls-Royce unveiled its new Ghost model, which is expected to retail at around £250,000.

The carmaker's boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös told the BBC that markets in Asia, Europe and the US were now "more or less back to normal".

Electric charge

Daimler also plans to make a range of fully electric Maybach models, which are likely to do well in China.

A shift to EVs will save governments $250bn a year in oil imports and cut expected growth in global oil demand by 70%, according to a new report from the financial think tank Carbon Tracker.

China, the world's largest luxury car market, wants new energy vehicle (NEV) sales to reach around a quarter of all car sales in 2025.

Other carmakers are revising their electric vehicle ambitions with General Motors (GM) the latest to reveal new targets.

GM plans to launch 30 all-electric models worldwide by 2025, while increasing its investment in those vehicles by more than a third.The US company now plans to invest $27bn in electric vehicles by 2025, compared to the $20bn it announced in March.

VW-owned Bentley is also pushing hard to convert to electric vehicles. By 2026, all of its cars will be either hybrid or battery-electric powered. By 2030, all new models will be pure electrically powered.

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