By Nick Aziz
Monday, Oct 1st, 2007 @ 5:38 pm
 
When Mercedes launched the Maybach brand in 2001, it had 71 U.S. dealers and a lofty goal of 600 units a year. Today, only 42 of those remain. The other 29 U.S. dealers have given up their franchises, Mercedes USA CEO Ernst Lieb told Automotive News.



Mercedes sold just 146 Maybachs in 2006, still far from its annual target. Lieb told the trade publication at the Frankfurt auto show his company negotiated with dealers on a case by case basis for terms of their buyout. One dealer said he got just 25 cents to the dollar in terms of his original investment.

Dealer Chuck Ghesquiere said his overall sales of seven cars were not enough to justify the studio, demo car, and spare parts.

A Mercedes spokeswoman said the company is now happy with the number of dealers, no immediate plans for further cuts.