DaimlerChrysler AG has accepted about 40 orders in France and the U.K. for expensive cars that won't reach the market until 2002 or 2003.

In March the company started accepting $81,000 deposits for the Maybach and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren sports car.

More than 20 customers have signed up for the cars in both countries.

The SLR McLaren will be the first Mercedes-Benz manufactured in England. Power will come from a 5.5L supercharged V-8, tuned by Mercedes AMG. They should be priced between $390,000 to $425,000 and are due in 2003.

DC is developing Maybach as a separate brand from Mercedes-Benz. The car will cost more than $325,000. Overall length will be about 19.7 ft. (6 m) with a stretched form available. Power will come from a twin-turbo V-12 engine of almost 6L. DC engineers have also developed a unique air suspension for the car.

The Maybach will go on sale in the fall of 2002, with right-hand drive versions a year later. The name refers to Wilhelm Maybach (1846-1929), a close friend of founder Gottlieb Daimler and his chief designer.