At the 72nd Geneva Motor Show (7th-17th March 2002), DaimlerChrysler‘s luxury automotive brand ‘Maybach’ will be appearing in front of an international audience for the first time in more than 60 years.

The Maybach brand exhibition will show the brand’s heritage, looking at the saloons which, in their day, formed an elite in German automotive manufacturing. The exhibition is designed to raise interest prior to the showing of the new Maybach saloon in the autumn of this year.

Maybach is being revived as a separate brand in its own right within the DaimlerChrysler Group.

Originally, Maybach’s exclusive clientele went to specialist coachbuilders to have their cars bodied. However, the new new luxury Maybach saloon will be factory-built at Sindelfingen, Germany, next door to where the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is built.

The new luxury brand is aiming to establish itself in the super-luxury part of the market occupied by marques such as Rolls Royce.

A V12 engine will be fitted to the new Maybach model. Maybach will premiere the new “Type 12” engine, which delivers a peak output of 405 kW/550 hp and peak torque of 900 Nm/664 lbs. ft, at the Geneva Motor Show.

The Maybach name has its origins in the early history of the automobile.

The first Mercedes, the Mercedes 35 PS of 1901, was the brainchild of Wilhelm Maybach, the long-time friend and colleague of Gottlieb Daimler and Director of the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG). This model provided the blueprint for all subsequent passenger cars.

In 1909, Maybach went on to build high-performance, highly reliable engines for Zeppelin airships; then, in 1919, his son Karl began developing exclusive luxury automobiles. He brought out his first model just two years later. By 1941, some 1,800 vehicles had left the stables of Maybach Motorenbau.

Each car was hand-built around the engine and chassis on the basis of individual customer specifications. The flagship model was the Maybach “Zeppelin”, with its V12 engine. With a length of approximately 5.5 metres, this was the largest German passenger car of its era.