Out of nowhere, Borgward returned to the automotive scene in the second half of 2015 after being inactive for more than half a century. However, the revival is not a direct successor to the old German company. Chinese automaker Beiqi Foton Motor, a subsidiary of the BAIC Group, bought the rights to the moniker and logo in 2014 to create the new automaker. There were plans for a factory in Bremen, but they never materialized.
Borgward sells the BX3, BX5, BX6 and BX7 petrol crossovers in China where an electric version of the BX7 is also offered. Sales peaked in 2019 when around 55,000 units were shipped before dropping to just 3,600 units last year. From 2016 to 2018, the automaker lost $564 million, and last year alone, it lost even more. Consequently, the company was declared bankrupt and is now trying to get court approval to sell its remaining assets.
Borgward Group AG is technically based in Stuttgart, Germany, but all manufacturing is done in China. There have been attempts to increase the brand’s presence outside the People’s Republic such as in Europe and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, but have never been successful. The coronavirus pandemic was too much of a blow for the nascent and fragile automaker, which was unable to recover.
It is worth noting that in 2019, parent company Beiqi Foton Motor sold a 67 percent stake in Borgward to Ucar, a Chinese online transportation and car rental company. Sales did increase for a while, but not enough to keep the troubled crossover maker afloat as the COVID-19 pandemic began to wreak havoc on the auto industry.
When the Borgward was brought back from the dead, it was planned to sell 800,000 units a year by 2020, but that clearly didn’t happen. Luxembourg represents its only presence in Europe, barely enough for viable business in a competitive industry with a large number of reputable names against relatively unknown companies.