We live in a time of change. The old goes or is gone. New things are coming, but not every plan works. There was the Borgward story, which had several Saab cross connections. In the center of the action was a certain Karlheinz L. Knöss. A former Saab press officer who was considered to be very busy during his active Saab time. Probably the biggest coup of his life, however, came in the Saab phase.
With a Borgward grandson he secured the fallow rights of the Bremen car brand and sold them to the Chinese Foton group. However he sparked the craze for a dead car brand in China, it was a masterpiece. It is not known how many millions Foton let the dream of a German brand cost. It will by no means have been cheap.
Saab Press Officer, Saab Designer, Saab Motors
The comeback got off to a promising start in 2015. Einar Hareide, who drew the 900 II and the 9-5 I, among other things, was hired as one of the designers. Borgward presented itself as a German brand and wanted to buy the huge former IBM campus in Stuttgart for the headquarters. An assembly plant at the former location in Bremen was also being planned, and the Senate was eager to secure free space.
But then everything turned out very differently. The Borgward BX7 turned out to be a Senova X65, an SUV with Saab genes from the BAIC Group, to which the Foton Group belonged. Based on the Saab 9-3 II platform, further developed under the name “Matrix” by BAIC and with Swedish help. The revelation came first here on the blog, it took a while for the motor press to pick up the topic.
The German fake profile
Borgward tried to take countermeasures, published a reply in a forum that ignored the facts. The story began to crack and became more and more bizarre. The insistence on being a German company became grotesque over time. It culminated in an image film that only showed European-looking people producing a Borgward SUV in a Chinese Foton plant.
The film quickly disappeared from the Borgward side and the brand went downhill steeply. The start in China was off to a good start, around 5.000 Borgward were sold per month. But the consumers recognized the sham packaging. The cars were acceptable, but just a staid infusion of well-known products. The rhombus was no longer fascinating, the resurrection began to fail. The peak was reached with 6.000 vehicles a month, then the numbers went into free fall.
With UCAR into the abyss
Foton quickly lost interest in adventure. In July 2019, the UCAR sales platform took over the majority of Borgward. They wanted to set up a franchise distribution all over the country, but the plans failed. 54.000 vehicles were sold in 2019, only 8.740 in the following year. Most of the vehicles remained within the UCAR group as internal company cars.
UCAR has now announced that it wants to pull the emergency brake. It is true that sales are well-mannered in some small export markets. But at Borgward you can't even dream of the 800.000 vehicles worldwide that they wanted to sell in 2020. The German ambitions are history, the property in Bremen was never paid for, the former IBM campus never became the headquarters of the resurrected brand.
After the end in 1961, the next bankruptcy is due in July 2021. There are no interested parties for the brand, writes the Pandaily. Time has simply passed over Borgward. Everything changes, many plans fail. Also from other big brands. The stars of the past no longer pull, maybe a decade earlier you would have had chances. Maybe you should have shown more courage. Instead of just an average SUV, a car like the Isabella Concept from Anders Warming should be offered.
Whatever. The story seems to have come to an end, it is time to say hello. New stars are in the sky, they go by the names NIO, Xpeng or Li Auto.
Who is still asking about Borgward?
With images from Borgward