FRANKFURT -- DaimlerChrysler turns a profit on its Maybach luxury limousine business just three years after relaunching the brand, Mercedes Car Group division chief Eckhard Cordes said in a newspaper interview.
"We already make money on it," he was quoted as saying in an interview with weekly newspaper Die Zeit released ahead of publication on Wednesday. He was responding to a question on whether he hoped to turn a profit on Maybach at some stage.
DaimlerChrysler said in January that it delivered around 500 Maybachs to customers in 2004 despite an economic environment "that was challenging for the entire luxury car sector". Maybach cars cost more than $300,000.
It said the Maybach brand accounted for more than one-third of all sales worldwide in this segment.
Cordes, who took over at Mercedes Car Group in October, has repeatedly played down his predecessor's forecast that Maybach could generate annual sales of 1,000 units.
"Five hundred cars (sold) is an outstanding annual result. The entire market segment is smaller than forecast," he told the newspaper.
"Over the past two years our sales are equal to the century-old Rolls-Royce brand even though we reintroduced Maybach only three years ago. I view that as a success."
Rolls-Royce, owned by rival German carmaker BMW, sold 792 of its Phantom model last year, also short of its 1,000-car target.