According to the statistics portal Carsalesbase, which refers to figures from the CAAM association, the Borgward brand, which is owned by the driving service provider Ucar, was only able to sell a few units of the BX2021, BX7 and BX5 models in 6. Borgward thus achieves a minus of over 59 percent compared to the previous year. With a market share of 0,02 percent, the brand has practically disappeared from the market. In the spring of 2022, the consequences were drawn and bankruptcy was filed. It is questionable whether an investor can still be found to take over the trademark rights after this slump in recent years. We take a look back at the last few years in Germany.
Borgward bankruptcy process completed
According to a report by "Automotive News Europe", the Chinese mother has completed the insolvency proceedings for what was once the third largest German vehicle manufacturer. The Borgward parent, Beiqi Foton Motor, is also said to have applied for a permit to liquidate the assets. What happened to the trademark rights has not yet been finally clarified.
Bankruptcy in April 2022
The carmaker Borgward is insolvent, according to the Chinese news portal Gasgoo. According to the news portal, Beijing Borgward filed for bankruptcy in Beijing on April 8th. The carmaker has obviously made losses since its inception. Most recently, the company was no longer able to pay its debts and took the consequences.
A look at the sales figures in China:
Borgward - Sales and Market Share in China
|year ( YYYY )||registrations||Change compared to previous year in %||Market share in China|
|2018||32.942||25.77 % OFF||0.14|
|2020||8.703||80.80 % OFF||0.04|
|2021||3.530||59.44 % OFF||0.02|
Restructuring with takeover by the driving service provider UCAR
After the euphoric start after the takeover by Foton in calendar year 2014 and the announcement of a new production location in Bremen, the new rights holder lost interest in the restart within a few years. In July 2019, the UCAR sales platform took over the majority of Borgward. Nationwide distribution on a franchise basis was planned. After the first sales successes with 54.000 vehicles for 2019, the buying interest ebbed massively and only 8.740 vehicles were sold. Most of the Borgward models remained as company cars within the UCAR group.
The contradiction was in the communicated German brand essence while simultaneously reaching into the Saab toolbox. The flagship Borgward TX7 was just a modified Bejing Senova X65, an SUV with a Saab history from the BAIC Group from the Foton Group. With the discovery of this story, the Borgward brand, which had just started up again, began to descend steeply.
The illusion of selling up to 800.000 vehicles in 2020 burst like a soap bubble. Just like the planned property acquisition in Bremen all growth targets were also missed in the following years. The concept of upgrading the sports utility vehicle segment with a historic German brand core can be regarded as a failure. Perhaps the reorientation towards the premium segment with bold designs such as the exciting Isabella Concept would have had a better chance on the market.
At the moment the only question is whether there will be another revitalization.
Reduction of employees in Stuttgart
According to the newspaper Weser-Kurier, Borgward has parted with some employees in the past few weeks. The official statement to the newspaper read: "Due to strategic changes at the Borgward company, the Borgward Group GmbH has agreed with some employees to separate by mutual agreement."
With the reduction in the number of employees at the German headquarters in Stuttgart, the gradual withdrawal to the European market continues. Only the design and development segments will be maintained in Stuttgart.
Bremen production site canceled
According to the Bremen Economic Development Corporation (WFB), the car manufacturer Borgward let the deadline for reserving a 140.000 square meter area in the Bremen freight center pass. The "Weser Report" reported on the decision.
After the widely promoted announcement of the Bremen production site in 2016, the planned comeback in Bremen is now being completely canceled. "How and in what form Borgward will be active in Bremen in the future is currently being examined," said spokesman Marco Dalan. “Bremen is and will remain the home of Borgward. We will remain in close contact with the WFB. ”.
After the announcement in 2016, there were numerous changes in the management team and now a new majority stake in Borgward with the Chinese company Ucar. Ucar specializes in ridesharing and short-term rentals for mobility. In contrast to competitor Uber, Ucar primarily provides its drivers with premium-segment cars for their journeys. In addition, an Internet car sales platform, which Borgward can also be marketed on, as well as a travel portal are operated.
The trend, via the majority stake in Ucar and the indications of economic development, is clearly in the direction of travel service providers and focuses on mobility services. The Bremen location could also be included in the considerations.
No decision for the Bremen production site yet
Borgward's big comeback in Bremen is still a long time coming. In December 2018, the Supervisory Board of Borgward Group AG appointed Xiuzhan Zhu as the company's new CEO. Borgward announced this in Stuttgart. That from the Economic Development Bremen (WFB) 140.000 square meters of land has been reserved for Borgward for almost two years - without the car manufacturer even beginning to build the planned production hall. Whether the construction will ever be realized is completely unclear at the moment.
In the past, since the large-format comeback press conference in October 2016, it has been announced several times that the construction of a production hall will soon be started. The reservation period for the property expired at the end of 2018. It has now been announced that the reservation period has been extended to mid-2019.
# April 12, 2017
Joint press release by BORGWARD Group AG and WFB Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen GmbH:
"We warmly welcome Borgward to Bremen," added Andreas Heyer, Chairman of the Management Board of WFB. ". The freight center Bremen offers with its excellent transport links optimum site conditions for the project of the Borg Ward Group" Even Martin Günthner, Senator for Economics, Labor and Ports, the commitment of the Borg Ward Group is located on the Weser, "We are extremely pleased with the location decision from Borgward. The state of Bremen has great expertise in the automotive industry and with Borgward is gaining a strong brand with ambitions to play an important role in the European market. ”Bremen / Stuttgart - The traditional brand Borgward is returning to Bremen. The Stuttgart-based automobile company plans to acquire a 140.000 square meter site on the site of the freight center in the west of Bremen. Borgward Group AG and WFB Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen GmbH signed a corresponding Memorandum of Understanding. "With the purchase of the site, we are consistently taking the next step in our global growth strategy," said Ulrich Walker, CEO of Borgward Group AG. No information was given about the purchase price.
In the first construction stage, a so-called SKD / CKD production for up to 50.000 vehicles per year is planned on the area in the freight traffic center. The aim is that production can be converted from SKD / CKD production to full production, depending on requirements and demand. In addition to production, a test track, a delivery center and a brand studio are planned on the site. Borgward plans to start construction by the beginning of 2018. Production is scheduled to start in 2019. The WFB starts already in May with the sand fillings for the property, which is required for the initial investment. Immediately afterwards, the sand filling up for the expansion area is initiated.
The Bremen Freight Transport Center (GVZ) has been a guarantee for top performance for more than 30 years: as an investment location as well as in the logistics sector. As a pioneer in GVZ development, it was opened in the mid-1980s as the first GVZ in Germany. Today more than 150 companies with around 8.000 employees are based here. The area covers an area of around 500 hectares and scores with its trimodality: The logistics location is optimally connected to road, rail and water transport and complements the infrastructural range of services offered by the nearby Bremen Airport with air freight.
The Borgward Group has already started an architecture competition for the production and the other buildings. “We also want to set a signal architecturally,” said Walker. As already announced, purely electrically powered vehicles and plug-in models will initially be manufactured in Bremen. "Our production facility in Bremen will be the global competence center for electromobility," said Walker. The e-vehicles from Bremen are planned for Europe and other markets.
Industry 4.0 as a guide for the production structure
The production, the processes and the facilities at the Borgward plant in Bremen will be based on the 4.0 industry standard from the start. The focus of the production structure is the intelligent "smart" factory - the planned production process will master the increasing complexity in automobile production and be highly efficient. The local depth of added value cannot yet be finally determined. In addition to the Borgward suppliers that have already been communicated, such as Continental, Kuka, Schäffler / SKF, BorgWarner, Webasto, Bosch and the electronics group LG will play decisive roles for batteries in the production of fully electric vehicles.
+++ Extract from the Borgward press release from October 26.10.2016, XNUMX +++
Stuttgart / Bremen - The automobile manufacturer Borgward is returning to Bremen and will set up a production facility in the northern German state. "With our return to Bremen we are building a bridge from the past to the future", said Ulrich Walker, CEO of Borgward Group AG, on Wednesday in Bremen and added: "We are continuing the history of Borgward." The home of Borgward in the 1920s, until the economic boom, the German automobile group with the brands Borgward, Lloyd and Goliath produced around 1,2 million vehicles here. The start of construction for the new production facility is planned for the beginning of 2017, with production starting in the following year 2018.
Source: Borgward Group AG press release
Borgward World Meeting 2016
Borgward looks back on 125 years of company history this year. As part of the Borgward World Meeting 2016, the largest meeting in history with over 500 classic cars took place on the Waterkant in Bremen over 4 days. An Eldorado for lovers, fan clubs and fans of the brand. The “Borgward Working Group” organized the meeting in 7 months of preparation. In addition to classics like the
“Isabella” and the “Arabella” featured many unique items from the Borgward, Goliath, Hansa and Lloyd brands, for example the Bremer Straßenbahn AG bus from 1953, police and fire engines and trucks.
The vehicles have disappeared from the streets of Bremen for decades. The old production sites in Bremen have meanwhile been demolished, orphaned or given a new use. The Lloyd-Motorenwerke gave way to a supermarket and the former Lloyd spare parts plant fell victim to the wrecking ball. Borgward was an established brand for decades.
The lightning cart and its beginnings in the prewar period
Until 1924, Borgward acted as "Bremer Kühlerfabrik Borgward & Co. GmbH" mainly as a producer of radiators and fenders for the Hansa-Lloyd works in Bremen. In response to a complaint from the former designer Klie, who found the transport of materials between the factory halls with a handcart too difficult, the development of a three-wheel motorized transport cart began internally. It was the hour of birth of the "lightning cart". With a payload of 250 kg and a 2,2 hp air-cooled single-cylinder two-stroke engine, it was sold for 980 Reichsmarks between 1925 and 1927. An important customer at the time was the Reichspost, which used the vehicle for emptying mailboxes and delivering parcels.
In 1928 a law for motor vehicles with fewer than four wheels and under 200 cubic centimeters was passed. These could be driven without a license and were tax-exempt. In that year the Goliath works were founded and the three-wheeled vehicle of the same name was developed. The Goliath "Pioneer" came on the market in 1931 as the first passenger vehicle. The single-cylinder two-stroke engine with a displacement of 198 cubic centimeters and an output of 5,5 hp brought it to a top speed of 60 km / h. The "pioneer" was a forerunner of the later very successfully mass-produced Hansa models. The "Hansa Roadster" was certainly one of the highlights of production. The open two-seater with in-line six-cylinder with twin carburettors developed 46 hp and allowed a top speed of 125 km / h. Only 11 copies of this model were made and it is still considered one of the most precious rarities among classic car fans.
During the Second World War, Borgward was forced to become a main supplier of half-track vehicles such as armored personnel carriers, tractors, load carriers and torpedoes. The plant in Bremen-Sebaldsbrück, which opened in 1938, was half destroyed in the air raid on Bremen on October 12, 1944, and the Goliath plant in Hastedt was almost completely destroyed.
The new beginning after the Second World War
The reconstruction took place after the Second World War. Due to the scarce raw material resources and initially rationed allocations of raw materials, Borgward divided his company into three individual companies in 1949. The companies produced vehicles of the brands Borgward, Goliath and Lloyd. In the times of the emerging economic miracle, particularly concise and well-known models were developed. This was mainly due to the person Carl F. Borgward. He was a tinkerer and inventor who mainly devoted himself to the development of innovative innovations and showed interest.
The small car Lloyd LP 300, popularly referred to as the leukoplastic bomber, with a two-stroke engine and a plywood body with synthetic leather covering, was a bestseller in the vehicle segment below the VW Beetle for a decade.
The "Hansa" model was produced in many variants and as the "Hansa 1800 Diesel" it was one of the first diesel cars on the market alongside the Mercedes-Benz models.
The middle class car "Borgward Isabella" was the greatest sales success and more than 200.000 times were built. As a coupé in particular, it was one of the most popular cars during the economic boom.
Quality problems in production and increasing liquidity gaps led the company on a lurching course. The extent of the problems became known to the public in the Spiegel article “The hobbyist”. The Bremen Senate, which had come under pressure, withdrew its guarantee and the banks no longer released the funds for February 1961. The event finally culminated in a crisis meeting before the Senate, in which company owner Carl F. Borgward transferred the company to the state of Bremen after several hours of negotiations in view of the threat of bankruptcy. After that, the bankruptcy proceedings took place in several stages.
Extract from the green car magazine - Issue IV - 2016 plus updates
Cover picture: Goodbye – Copyright Gajus – stock.adobe.com
Sources, images and information: Borgward Group AG, Bremen Economic Development Corporation
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