The $200,000 Mercedes-Maybach GLS Will Be the Most Expensive Car Built in the US
The Alabama-built Mercedes-Maybach GLS will eclipse the Ohio-built Acura NSX by over $40,000 greenbacks.
Vance, Alabama, is about to become the birthplace of the United States' most expensive new car. Mercedes-Benz plans to build its Mercedes-Maybach GLS exclusively at its Alabama facility, reports Automotive News, and with an expected price tag of around $200,000, it will be the most expensive passenger vehicle built in America by a long shot.
Currently, the Ohio-built Acura NSX is the most expensive car built in the United States, as Motor1 points out, but the expected price tag for the new Maybachified GLS beats the NSX's price tag by about $42,500.
Mercedes' facility in Vance will also build the regular next-generation Mercedes-Benz GLS and is currently undergoing a $1-billion upgrade that includes an electric battery plant, as it will start producing vehicles for the brand's electric EQ line in the early 2020s, per Automotive News. Even before the upgrades, this plant is the second-largest vehicle exporter out of the United States, with two-thirds of its output going overseas.
The new Mercedes-Maybach GLS will be a full-size luxury SUV in the vein of the Audi Q7-based Bentley Bentayga, as Maybach will be taking the downmarket (from this, at least) unibody GLS SUV and fancying it up. It will be powered by a V8 engine making at least 560 horsepower. It's expected to take some styling cues (though not the trunk) from the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept and debut in China later this year.
Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler considers this new GLS a "halo car," and said that it's part of Mercedes' plans to extend the Maybach brand to as many models as makes sense.
"We'll logically extend [Maybach] where it makes sense," Exler told Automotive News. "I cannot imagine you will have a Maybach A class. But on the top luxury cars, to have the luxury edition makes a whole lot of sense for us."
It also plays big into the luxury market's insatiable thirst for plush SUVs. Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche, BMW and Rolls-Royce all have their SUVs now, and Aston-Martin and Ferrari are expected to join the party next. The overall market for ultra-luxury SUVs is expected to grow from about 7,500 last year to over 20,000 by 2023, per AutoForecast Solutions data cited by Automotive News. Seventy-five percent of that market is the U.S. and China, so it really makes sense that Merc would build the new Mercedes-Maybach GLS in the U.S., and debut it in China.