Originally Posted by scheherazade
I was always under the impression that MB is the common brand, and Maybach is the 'nice' brand - and the entire lineup is just scaled towards a slightly better off crowd of folks.
There's the C series for the regular folks, with a stripper E rounding things out.
The 3 isn't exactly unattainable, with a stripper 5 rounding things out.
BMW also has the 1 series, and will soon have the 2 series.
Sure, $35-$45K isn't unattainable, but it's still more than the average person spends on a car. I know here in the DC area, that's not the case; BMWs and MBs (of all sorts) are extremely common. But in most of the world outside the Beltway, the average person doesn't spend $30 - $40K on a car, and s/he doesn't drive any sort of BMW or MB.
I understand that MB makes the Maybach, but nobody says (much less thinks) of a Mercedes: Ooh, it's the mainstream Maybach. And that goes directly to the point I was making above. A MB isn't a mainstream car; neither is any current model of BMW. I'm not saying there's anything particularly exclusive about either brand of car. I'm just saying that they cost more than what the masses spend on cars and that by definition makes them also not mainstream brands. Both brands have the opportunity to reap additional profits by dispensing their prior technology and engineering in a new automobile line (called something other than BMW or MB, which, given your comments, must be a point I didn't make clearly enough in the second bullet of my original post...) and selling them as mainstream vehicles.
Finally, I can assure you that no car maker is particularly looking to be exclusive; not one of them has that as their mission, though whatever their mission is, may yield exclusivity as a by product. Car buyers may want exclusivity, but car makers, and their stockholders, want to sell as many cars as they possibly can, to as many people as they possibly can, at a profit.
That we see many kinds of car makers -- from Kias to Maybachs -- is a function of there being a profitable way to make money at a wide variety of price points. If Bentley or Pagani could make their cars and profitably sell them -- I'm talking about making and selling exactly the cars they sell now -- for $24k each, they would because in the end, they'd make more money that way. For better or worse, the economies of scale haven't yet conspired to make carbon fiber and Connolly hides affordable to the general public.