The difficulty of establishing a new car brand

Do we remember qoros? The brand was featured on the blog several times in 2013. Former Saab employees, especially a former press officer, moved to China. An Israeli-Chinese consortium tried to build a new car brand with the help of deserving European veterans.

Geneva Motor Show. Newcomer Qoros.

The first product, the Qoros 3, celebrated world premiere on the Geneva Motor Show. First of all, there was a lot of attention from the press and from the competition - and ambitious plans for the future. Then the Qoros 3 was also voted the best car ever tested in the EURO NCAP crash test. The Saab engineers had worked well, everything seemed to be on the right track.

But reality quickly caught up with the brand. A lot of things had been done right. The Qoros 3 was a good car. Maybe a little boring. Certainly in the wrong place at the wrong time. In China there was no desire for more compact sedans. No matter how many stars in the crash test, and completely irrelevant how European the design was. Qoros had (surprisingly) completely overslept the SUV trend and was only able to bring the Qoros 5 SUV onto the market late.

The sales figures have developed in the meantime manageable: (Source:

  • 2014: 7.000
  • 2015: 14.250
  • 2016: 24.000

With these numbers of items, profitability was out of the question, and it is now clear that Qoros will not be able to survive on its own. The previous plans have disappeared in the drawer, now it's about survival. New partners and partnerships should secure the future. A low-cost brand from Qoros, based on a Chery platform, is in preparation. Most Swedes finished the Qoros adventure long ago. They are back in their homeland, most of them work at CEVT in Gothenburg.

And even if you bet on the SUV trend, the products are no longer a sure-fire success. The market in China is tough, which is also being felt by another new start. Borgward was only interesting to me because a former Saab designer brought his sketches there for a brief moment. His departure came quickly, and apart from the fact that some components on the BAIC shelf have a Saab origin, there are no longer any connections to Sweden.

Borgward relies on the SUV. And disappointed anyway.

Borgward is the Chinese reanimation of a legendary brand. Owned by Foton, the truck division of the state-owned BAIC, it no longer has anything to do with Germany and its origins. Nevertheless, one insists on the German heritage, which now and then has strange features. Up until a few days ago, a remarkable video was available on the official Borgward website.

Since the founding date of the Bremen company of 1929 on 1919 is brought forward. What would be halfway excused, if you want to celebrate in 2 years necessarily a significant birthday. And what is not bad, because there were also before the founding of the car builder companies with the Borgward addition in the name. It will be absolutely funny at the latest when a production is shown, where only and exclusively Europeans produce new Borgwards. What conclusions could one draw from this? Either the Chinese car industry has an extremely high proportion of European temporary workers, or it is supposed to play things that are not. The video has now been set to private mode and is no longer visible.

However, even in China, there does not seem to be any hope of reviving the Borgward brand. The sale of the BX7 SUV launched last year. Sales figures, with monthly 4-5.000 units, were more flop than respectable by Chinese standards. Since the beginning of the year, it is going steeply downhill.

Sales of BX7 in China, March to July 2017. (Source:

  • 3 / 2017: 4.556
  • 4 / 2017: 3.005
  • 5 / 2017: 2.901
  • 6 / 2017: 2.018
  • 7 / 2017: 2.109

By way of comparison, the best-selling China SUV, Great Wall's Haval 6, found 2017 more than 37.000 buyers in July.

Two new brands. One from the retort, one brought out of Grandpa's moth box. Two attempts with big announcements, which were badly disappointed so far. Establishing a new car brand is difficult, as experience teaches. The time of the gold diggers is long gone in China. And who comes too late, the consequences.

17 thoughts on "The difficulty of establishing a new car brand"

  • Well, the nationality would be secondary, but the investor should be serious and bring his own, clean money.

  • Volvo is also through, there is only tricked and bluffed. They have recently moved production for the V90 secretly to China, without telling the buyers. And for a Chinese bowl 60.000 + does not make anyone who is still halfway to comfort.
    Sweden has said goodbye to the elitist circles of the autonations, let's face it.

  • The classic automobile has become cultural property.

    I see more and more oldtimers and youngtimers on the German streets.
    I knew that earlier only from the Scandinavian countries.

    For example, 1989 in the center of Simrisham, two old ladies
    with skirt, hat, hand and shopping bags from an old but brand new
    PV444 looking like it was 1949 ...

    Today one sees comparable more and more often also in Germany. The old gentlemen
    with his perfectly groomed SAAB 9000, who explains to me that he is in this life
    not buying a new car and not even knowing what he should buy, if
    he would have to.

    So who needs new car brands with conventional technology?
    Or new steam locomotives?

  • The only thing that suddenly occurs to me is Mr. Antonov, who was already very interested in becoming a shareholder in Saab during the GM days. But Russians and Americans ... difficult.

  • From today's point of view - certainly. But what does that look like in the next 10,15,20 years? A short period of time compared to the demise and fresh start of a brand like Borgward. Every day Saabs end up in junkyards, are involved in accidents or the like. The more cars disappear and the longer a new entry takes, the more this (so far) good starting position changes.

  • Correct. I see it that way too. Unless there is a revolutionary different car with a revolutionary different, really environmentally friendly drive. But I don't see anything (yet) ...

  • The Chinese have done everything wrong that goes - stupid chinese money - except obviously at VOLVO!

  • The car world certainly doesn't need new car brands like Qoros, Lynk & Co etc. or outdated brands like Borgward.
    Cult brands such as Mini or Jaguar were broke or were about to write more or less black numbers.
    Saab needs an investor who has long-term financial resources and understands the Saab spirit and then offers it with environmentally friendly drives (electric, gas? Etc.).

  • The starting position at Saab would be different. In contrast to Borgward, there are still existing structures and used cars. Approx. 1 million vehicles are on the road, and with it a certain number of potential buyers. And a very good story in the background ...

  • If we assume that Saab is allowed to celebrate a comeback on the automobile market, I wonder if Saab would not fare the same way. Or is this just because here Chinese investors are at work? In this regard, I am curious what happens to NEVS. For Trollhättan and the region one can hope that a scenario like Qoros or Borgward fails.

  • At Lynk & Co I am very skeptical whether this will be a success ...

  • Do not need a new car brand !!!

    Have SAAB drive SAAB until death separates us.
    The SAAB will certainly live longer than me.

  • Borgward must expand internationally as quickly as possible in order to come up with numbers. The European market is also highly competitive. But a well-equipped hybrid SUV for Kamfpreis offers hardly anyone. The other manufacturers do not sleep. The time window is not big. By then, Borgward must have established itself.

  • let's see what Lynk & Co will do, ......

  • It is therefore easy to understand that the Chinese in the specific case of Great Wall Motor want to incorporate the Jeep and / or Werk brand. Just as Tom writes the Chinese market has become very competitive ..

  • I was wondering what happened to Qoros. It was once announced as a high-flyer in the press, but it hasn't got very far yet. And Borgward ... was also to be expected. In any case, it's not the big comeback!

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