The seeds of failure

Last week, we asked readers for their opinion on the future prospects of NEVS. The result can be considered historical, because for the first time a large majority saw the failure of NEVS before their eyes.

Borgward plant Sebaldsbrueck. Image: Borgward AG
Borgward plant Sebaldsbrueck. Image: Borgward AG

Presumably they are right. Beyond all Saab romance, NEVS has accumulated too many mistakes. The trademark rights lost, no production, no liquidity, no clear concept. Under certain circumstances, the administrator will soon pull the plug; only a miracle can save. And they are known to be very, very rare.

A possible failure of NEVS need not be the end of Saab in the automotive industry, nor the end of the Trollhättan location. It could mean a new beginning. For the final farewell, the brand is too lively, the fan base too strong and the cars with the griffin just too good. We will see…

The industry is full of surprises, and because it's bland to write about NEVS, we're looking into the big, wide world today.

Will NEVS come to a positive conclusion?

  • No never! (64% 371 Votes)
  • Yes, in any case! (36% 212 Votes)

Total Voters: 583

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What is Qoros doing?

The car industry is not a simple patch. Even companies that may have done a lot more well than NEVS have an icy wind blowing in their faces. Do we remember Qoros? In Sweden, the brand was already celebrated as Saab 2.0, then it was quiet. No one talks about sales in the home country of Saab, the key word is disappointment.

The recipe sounded so good. Take a large amount of money, commit well-deserved veterans from the auto industry, mix European design with European technology from the kit of renowned suppliers and build in China premium cars for the world market.

The result: a handsome product with top marks in the NCAP crash test. Just….

... nobody likes to buy it. Qoros does not publish figures, but makes no secret of the disappointment. The sale is far below expectations "... if you had started 4 or 5 years earlier, yes then ..." This is how you express yourself at Qoros. Too late, the cake on the huge market is largely distributed, the industry is established and newcomers have a hard time. Qoros, as a domestic producer with a brand new product, is disappointing; how about NEVS re-infusing the 9-3?

In China, there are around 5.000 vehicles that found customers between January and December 2014. And Qoros is not gaining momentum, sales are said to be stuck with 500 to 550 vehicles per month. In order to get the Qoros 3 into the Chinese top ten approval, as announced, you need a quantity of 200.000 to 300.000 units. No wonder that the personnel carousel is starting to turn in Shanghai. Qoros is an example that you can do a lot with a lot of money, but that you also reach your limits. Without a crazy story in the background, without a fan base, it's difficult to establish a brand.

While Qoros continues to fight and there are no more statements as to when you want to be profitable, something amazing is happening in Switzerland ...

Borgward is coming back ...

... and there is also a Saab link here. The story in a nutshell: the grandson of the company founder, Christian Borgward, and a certain Karlheinz L. Knöss have been working from Switzerland for a long time on the comeback, which should now become reality. The mentioned Mr Knöss - the name will not mean anything to very few readers - was a member of the management team at Saab Germany and director of public relations in the late 90s. With partner Foton in the background, the brand is to be reborn; The first sign of life is the Geneva Motor Show with a 400 square meter stand.

The draft of the first study came from the former Saab designer Einar Hareide, who for some time was the director of design at Borgward. It is unclear whether he is still responsible for this. From this year on, 5 new Borgwards are expected to hit the market in quick succession; The premium segment is targeted. The development work for the new vehicles is said to have taken place in Switzerland.

All right, the brand has disappeared 1961, now it comes back. The old Borgwards are cult, but after more than half a century, someone has been waiting for new cars? Investor Foton is China's number 4 in vehicle manufacturing, supposedly highly profitable, and one can credit the Chinese the necessary billions to revive Borgward.

Only - it does have a flaw after all. Borgwards main plant in Sebaldsbrück is still occupied by the invaders from the southwest. They have been at home there since the 60s. There are no indications that the Swabians are withdrawing from Bremen. The traditional work remains in enemy hands.

And Borgward? A new car factory for Borgward in Germany, you would have heard that would be a sensation.

The Borgwards are to be built in China in the future. Premium for the world, a great traditional brand. And yet another birth defect. Not that we misunderstand each other: I like these stories about big old brands and the dreams of a comeback. The automotive landscape needs alternatives to the prevailing monoculture. I wish Borgward AG and the founder's grandson all the success in the world. But the rebirth of legends depends on the details, at least from a certain price and expectation class.

And with the name Borgward we are in one of the highest expectation classes! If you take a lot of money in hand, then you should treat yourself to the luxury of consequence in the smallest detail. Borgward is a German legend. Point.

Borgward from China in the future? Perhaps, despite all the romance of the automobile, the seeds of failure have already been planted there.

23 thoughts on "The seeds of failure"

  • Saab and Apple, the two names alone already fit well together. Can you imagine an iMercedes? Well, no, that does not work. But iSab has sound

    If you consider how many cars are on the road every day around the world and pollute our beautiful world with exhaust fumes, then a vehicle that dwarfs everything there is today in terms of drive, handling and design would really be “the next big thing ”.

    If someone can completely reinvent the car, then that is certainly not one of the traditional manufacturers.

  • Where is Bochum free?
    Not even the property is to have because it was sold long ago.
    Do not overdo it with your dreams

  • Saab was one too

  • No, Borgward also the Middle Kingdom is utter nonsense. There's enough space for niche marks, but not at any cost. BMW is showing the way with Mini ... Volvo is also a niche brand 🙂

  • Another small thought about larger corporations ...
    In their place, I would currently go easy on Saab. As long as NEVS suspects that interesting investors are approaching, they will not give up easily and try to get some more of the cake.
    By the way, my preferred candidate would be BMW. Everyone can dream ...
    Maybe we will still be pleasantly surprised. In any case, I think it is very likely that (set the case there) hold back the very large interested parties until NEVS has disappeared from the scene.
    Even if the plant in Trollhättan were to disappear into oblivion, that would by no means mean the end for Saab for me. Of course, a Swedish work would be the icing on the cake ... As long as Swedish or European genes flow into a SAAB, it would be perfectly fine for me, even if, for example, Magna manufactures in Switzerland. Perhaps you should also think about the Trollhättan location ... even if the place of birth is there. With a good overall concept, a lot is conceivable for me ...

  • In China, there were already industrial standards (office buildings), as here the small state despots learned with the word and noise the word manufactory. Countless objects in museums today show that Chinese people can meet any quality standards.

    But Borgward from China? If Spyker from the Netherlands does not work?

  • In 1996, NeXT had already largely reoriented itself to web design and databases for web servers. The NeXTStep operating system, although still the best in the world, has been neglected. As I've been told, it was developers at NeXT who simply got in touch with Steve Jobs, who were desperately looking for a solution to a successor to the old MacOS.

    Apple bought the whole store, got a super team including Steve Jobs, NeXTStep became MacOSX and later iOS, and if I hadn't had to sell Apple shares every now and then, I'd be uh, richer than so ... .. 😉

    Maybe you just have to post the idea of ​​Apple & Saab on enough Apple forums until some relevant people at Saab and Apple read it and maybe it clicks in some brain.

  • Heaven God, I've been saying that for "centuries".
    In addition, there were already beautiful SAAB prototypes (in I-Mac White), which could well have come from Cupertino.
    Nobody is waiting for any new car, for an I-SAAB.
    Imagine the queue of buyers in front of the SAAB distribution points!
    Unbelievable, now I'm dreaming after breakfast
    Or is it an ineradicable resistant (SAAB) virus?

  • NEVS out, Mahindra out, Foton in. Then build new Borgward on the Phönix platform next to Saab models in Trollhättan. That would be my dream. A win-win situation for everyone, except NEVS, but they had their chance ... and didn't use it.

  • Foton has not said anything to me yet. But as it seems, there are more investors who have large financial resources (and would like to use them in the automotive industry too!) As suspected.

    Possibly. Bergman and his crew have so far only backed the wrong horses and should turn on the search lights again - if the right investor bites, it will also work with the SAAB AB and possibly with an extension by the court.

    On the other hand, we didn't hear that Mahindra had definitely left the negotiating table - so the wait for news with substance continues unchanged.

  • If Borgward is already restarted, then ORGINAL please! From Western Europe ... at least!
    The apple products in question are all manufactured in Asia, but they are mostly "exchanged" after 12 months. Sustainable looks different! A pure consumer product.
    A car is not a consumer product for me. And if the car should appear more valuable, then please also add the right story, safety and cleanliness. Then the € change hands. Borgward from China, doesn't work at all 🙁!
    Bochum is free, Trollhättän is free (?) ... or maybe has capacities ..., closed Peugeot plants in France or Belgium ??? All of these would be addresses…. 😉

  • Hm, I see Borgward fail the next brand. Why should the old names bring it to start a company in the world market. That did not manage Mercedes with the past Maybach project, VW with Bugatti and a lot of money. The advantage of these brands was at least that they were built by hand in Germany and Italy. Surely the little Chinese hands are clever in assembling, but who wants a car from China, if he gets other premium brands that are on the up, such as Jaguar and soon Volvo again?
    Burning the money is easier for VW and Mercedes because they keep adding new things. But at Borgward? Who should still associate the brand with premium? With all due respect, most of them are already underground….

  • I've been following the revival of Borgward for a while. Also because with Hareide and Knöss also some Saabgene are on board. I would be happy if the legend returned. I know that one wanted to have it first produced at Valmet in Finland. Also there would have been again a Saab parallel. However, quality or not, a Borgward may simply not be built in China, at least not if it is then sold in Europe, or even in Germany. This is just the style break par excellence, for me as a Swabian this would be like Rostbraten with Spätzle sweet sour, hell devil I can only say. I was born 1969 and my father drove an Isabella until the end of the 70 years, that means I grew up in a Borgward. It would be a little boyhood dream now, as there may not be a New Saab anyway, even own a Borgward. But certainly not a Borgward from China in any case. That is simply impossible and abysmal, does not work.

  • Definitely! That makes the biggest sense strategically. Would be synonymous to me the most, because then you could totally biased again sort the cards. So, some potential buyers may not even sit down at the negotiating table, as NEVS is still in the mix. And who would like to have such an air pump in the boat? At best suits for a dinghy

  • Dear Tom
    The title of this article scared me ...

  • The plant in China would not bother me, a work in Germany would of course be the coronation for Borgward. But where does our German elite produce everywhere ?! And in the beginning it might be wise not to start in the lion's den !? Even after years you still think positively about the cars of Borgward! Since the revival of SAAB would have to be quite possible! I also feel the thought that will wait until NEVS ko is.

  • Bringing Saab back to life would, in my opinion, be easier than reviving Borgward or conjuring a brand like Qoros out of the retort. Since we agree 100%. But we do not understand anything about the car business

  • Interesting story with Borgward.
    However, it will be a big task to build a capable sales and service network in addition to the development costs.
    A takeover of SAAB is probably easier ...
    So I do not think SAAB is too black, just a decision soon

  • When you read about Qoros and Borgward, the Saab tragedy seems to look much better. Saab offers much more. An established brand in terms of awareness and values, a relatively large fan base and the prospect of a mass market with the right leadership. In the automotive industry these are very important factors in my opinion. Maybe we'll have a big surprise when NEVS leaves.
    For example, investing in Qoros or Borgward would never be an option for me.
    A car brand like Saab, properly managed and integrated into a group-building system, could be profitable.

    That's my opinion, LG

  • Why does Qoros not join Saab? Money seems to be there. And if we are already at the money, the Opel plant in Bochum is empty. Since Borgward could buy a plant immediately and the workers are certainly already available.

  • Products from China depends on the image of a certain flaw. Many products confirm this as well.
    I myself work in the automotive industry and it is rumored that there are simply no words in the Chinese language for “gap dimension” and “quality control”.

    On the other hand, we also have examples of how China produces very high-quality products that enjoy a very high reputation worldwide. For example, I am thinking of the apple products that we like to talk to on the phone. With an effective quality control by the right places a production in China is quite possible!

    Conclusion: If Borgward creates a similar construct, as the apple company fights, a production in China is no shortcoming!
    Good quality controls in combination with a very, very customer-oriented service on site at the customer are immensely important!
    Development and planning in Europe - and everything will be fine!

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