Maybach: Strong sales in China drive double sales

Carmaker Daimler plans to double sales of its luxury Maybach vehicles, buoyed by strong demand in China.

Daimler, which also owns Mercedes-Benz, sold a record 12,000 luxury Maybachs last year.

They are used widely as limousines in China, the car’s most popular market.

Prices start at $173,000 (£130,000) for the latest model. However, this can rise to more than $250,000 with the addition of optional extras like silver champagne flutes.

Buyers also often go for gadgets such as massaging calf rests and automated rear doors.

The new Maybach model, based on a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, is designed for chauffeured trips, and will compete with the likes of the Bentley Flying Spur and the Rolls-Royce Ghost.

Daimler says it wants to have a stronger focus on large luxury vehicles like the S-Class as part of its strategy to improve profits.

The growth rate in China for Maybach was in double figures while Russia, South Korea and the US have shown strong sales, according to its chief executive Ola Kaellenius.

Other luxury carmakers have also seen strong sales in China. Rolls-Royce’s parent company BMW said earlier this month that its third-quarter profits grew almost 10% due to pent-up demand, primarily from Asia.

Daimler AG unveiled the latest version of its $200,000 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class sedan.

In September, Rolls-Royce unveiled its new Ghost model, which is expected to retail at around £250,000.

The carmaker’s boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös told the BBC that markets in Asia, Europe and the US were now “more or less back to normal”.

Electric charge

Daimler also plans to make a range of fully electric Maybach models, which are likely to do well in China.

China is leading a switch to electric vehicles (EV) in emerging markets, with ambitious plans to be carbon neutral by 2060.

A shift to EVs will save governments $250bn a year in oil imports and cut expected growth in global oil demand by 70%, according to a new report from the financial think tank Carbon Tracker.

China, the world’s largest luxury car market, wants new energy vehicle (NEV) sales to reach around a quarter of all car sales in 2025.

Other carmakers are revising their electric vehicle ambitions with General Motors (GM) the latest to reveal new targets.

GM plans to launch 30 all-electric models worldwide by 2025, while increasing its investment in those vehicles by more than a third.The US company now plans to invest $27bn in electric vehicles by 2025, compared to the $20bn it announced in March. 

VW-owned Bentley is also pushing hard to convert to electric vehicles. By 2026, all of its cars will be either hybrid or battery-electric powered. By 2030, all new models will be pure electrically powered.

New EU drive to remove extremist web content

GETTY IMAGES: Monitoring jihadist websites is a huge task for police

EU ministers say the bloc needs to adopt a law this year obliging internet firms to remove extremist propaganda within an hour of it being reported.

The EU has been discussing such a regulation for more than a year, but the recent terror attacks in France and Austria have given it new urgency.

Interior ministers said the text must be agreed soon with the EU Commission and European Parliament.

They also urged more EU data-sharing and more systematic border checks.

Both German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson called for an agreement by Christmas on the new “regulation on terrorist content online (TCO)”.

The ministers’ joint statement called for a “rapid and effective instrument to counter terrorist content online within an hour or less of its being reported”. 

The Austrian authorities have found intelligence lapses which allowed the Vienna gunman, identified as a dual Austrian-Macedonian national, to slip under the police radar – yet he had served a jail term for seeking to join jihadists in Syria.

Flowers and candles are placed during a commemorative ceremony held on 5 Nov 2020 for four people killed in a terror attack in Vienna
image captionVienna had been peaceful for decades before the 2 November shooting

The gunman opened fire on 2 November on people relaxing in a popular central district, killing four, before police shot him dead.

The investigation has established that Kujtim Fejzulai, 20, had been released early from jail in December, had tried to buy ammunition in Slovakia in July, and had also met German and Swiss Islamists in Vienna that month.

This week Austrian police raided more than 60 addresses allegedly linked to Islamist extremists and seized millions of euros of cash. Dozens of suspects are under investigation.

Ms Johansson said another priority must be tighter controls on the EU’s external borders, so that terror suspects could be tracked more systematically.

Co-ordinating such checks between 27 member states has proven difficult, as most are in the passport-free Schengen zone where border checks are minimal.

Ms Johansson said a study by the EU border force Frontex last year found that 22% of those entering the Schengen zone had not been recorded in the digital Schengen Information System. 

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The ministers’ statement said the EU’s police forces must “do their utmost to prevent foreign terrorist fighters, many of whom have combat experience, from entering the Schengen area undetected”.

‘Not against religion’

The statement also said “our fight against terrorism is not directed against any religious or political beliefs, but against fanatical and violent extremism”. captionParis Mayor Anne Hidalgo and French PM Jean Castex laid wreaths at La Bonne Bière cafe

It came as France mourned the 130 people killed by jihadists in Paris in November 2015.

French investigators have established that Brahim Aouissaoui, the Tunisian who fatally stabbed three people in a church in Nice last month, had only arrived in Europe in September. He was shot and wounded by police and is in hospital in the southern French city.

He had reached Nice after first getting to Italy by boat.

Investigators say they have found a picture on his phone of the Chechen man who beheaded a teacher near Paris two weeks earlier, AFP news agency reports. They also found pictures linked to the Islamic State group on his phone.