Mercedes-Benz has confirmed the upcoming Maybach version of the new-generation GLS SUV will be built at its Alabama facility in the US.
"The Maybach brand "stands for luxury," he told the publication, "It will help build the Mercedes brand, no question."
Power is believed to come from a turbocharged V8 making in excess of 560hp (417kW) – likely a version of the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 used across the AMG range – and be priced at around US$200,000 ($281,224), making it the most expensive passenger vehicle to be produced in the US.
The Maybach GLS will join a growing range of ultra-luxe SUVs at the pointy end of the car market, including everything from the upcoming Aston Martin DBX and Bentley Bentayga to flagship versions of the Range Rover along with the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.
Pictured: Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept
Automotive News reports the ultra-luxury SUV segment is projected to grow from around 7500 global sales last year to more than 20,000 by 2023, according to data from AutoForecast Solutions.
The flagship GLS will be primarily aimed at chauffeur-crazy China, which accounted for more than two-thirds of Maybach sedan sales in 2018.
Beyond the current S-Class family and next-generation GLS, Exler indicated the company has plans to extend the Maybach brand across more model lines, though it won't be as prevalent as its AMG performance models.
"We'll logically extend it where it makes sense," he said, "I cannot imagine you will have a Maybach A class. But on the top luxury cars, to have the luxury edition makes a whole lot of sense for us."
The Alabama manufacturing plant builds the current GLE, GLE Coupe and GLS, and has capacity to produce more than 300,000 units per annum. Further to the introduction of the Maybach GLS to its resumé, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (the factory's official name) will be the subject of a US$1 billion upgrade to build the company's upcoming EQ-branded electric vehicles early next decade.
Mercedes-Benz is expected to unveil the new-generation GLS at the New York motor show later this month, ahead of a sales launch before year's end. Expect the Maybach version to be revealed in the months following the core range, with sales to commence early next year.
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