Aston Martin and Maybach are discussing building a concept car together, possibly for the Frankfurt auto show in September, and the move could signal an impending partnership between Aston and Mercedes-Benz.
Maybach's last concept was 2005's Maybach Exelero (ABOVE). Little is known about the new project, except that it is likely to be a luxury car, with a high-quality interior finished to the hand-crafted standards of a British luxury sedan. Aston Martin is understood to have approached Mercedes with an idea for at least one concept, although a source suggests that two projects are the subject of discussions. Neither Aston Martin nor Mercedes would comment.
Meanwhile, Mercedes is understood to be close to selecting a partner to co-develop future models for its Maybach hyper-luxury division. In an interview in Germany, Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche recently put a date of “the end of June” for a decision, which is pressing because Maybach needs to finalize replacements for its aging 57 and 62 sedans.
The Mercedes design studio has been working on designs for these replacements for some time, which leaves Aston's role in the project unclear. The British marque is most likely to bring its skills to the interior design, particularly the use of traditional materials in conjunction with high-tech features, such as saddle leather and carbon fiber.
Aston has developed unique construction methods by adapting traditional stitching and leather work for the One-77, skills that would help Maybach lift the sense of occasion of its interiors to equal Rolls-Royce's. It also has good experience of small production runs of luxury cars and specialist marketing to high-net-worth individuals. In return, Aston could get access to Mercedes' new alloy body technology and engines for third-generation Vantage and DB9 models.