Mercedes to Sell $1 Million S-Class
Mercedes-Benz made waves last year with the CLA, a best-selling sedan priced at just under $30,000.
The strategy behind the car, with its category-testing low price, was to recruit buyers "into the brand young and keep them for life," Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes Benz USA, said during the New York Auto Show in April. "It's time for folks to get off the pedestal. Mercedes-Benz needed to be approachable."
Nevertheless, plumbing the lower reaches of`the luxury market risked devaluing Mercedes' bulletproof image with buyers of means. Which is why Mercedes has been just as aggressive revamping its trophy cars — it spent $1 billion overhauling its fading S-Class into a category-leading paradigm of performance, luxury and tech, and this year relaunched its top-of-the-line S600, which sells for $166,900 and is partly meant to satisfy demand, particularly in Asia, for superpremium sedans.
Now, Mercedes is developing a stretched "Pullman" version of the S-Class — with a price tag of up to $1 million and optional armor plating and bulletproof windows — to go on sale in 2015, Bloomberg reports.
The 21-foot monster stickers at twice that of Rolls-Royce's most expensive model, the Phantom, and will have four first-class airline-style seats facing each other and a dedicated chauffeur's cabin separated by a privacy screen.
Another stretched S-Class, expected late this year, will reintroduce the Maybach marque, which Mercedes shuttered as a stand-alone brand in 2012 amid slow sales.
The original 600 Pullman, introduced in 1963 and retired in 1981, was favored by the pope, Fidel Castro, and many of the the era's young lions of movies and music.
The Who's Pete Townshend owned one, outfitted with JBL speakers, and Francis Ford Coppola extracted a promise from then-Paramount Pictures president Robert Evans that the studio would buy him one when The Godfather passed $50 million at the box office.
Coppola, with George Lucas in tow, convinced a San Francisco Mercedes dealer to order him a 600 when the movie hit $100 million. " 'Send the bill to Paramount,' " Coppola later recalled he told the startled salesman. "And they did."