The hallowed German premium brand might have beaten Renault in a legal war over its logo, but that wasn't enough to stay afloat.
Borgward, the 100-year-old premium automotive manufacturer you've probably never heard of, has filed for bankruptcy and is now seeking approval to sell off its assets, representing another failed attempt at reviving the iconic nameplate.
Borgward was originally a famous German brand that went out of business in the 1960s. The recent iteration of the company came about in 2014 when Chinese automaker Beiqi Foton Motor, a BAIC Group automaker with some egregiously knocked-off designs, bought the rights. The brand hoped to attract customers with a slew of crossovers like the uninspiring BMW X3-sized BX7 crossover, but alas, after a few years of moderate success before the pandemic, the company will again fall into obscurity.
Automotive News Europe reported that the People's Court of Beijing ruled last week, putting an end to the company's short tenure. When the automaker debuted the BX7 in 2015, the goal was to attract 800,000 sales by 2020 with 1.6 million units delivered by 2025. Across its lifespan, the company debuted four vehicles in total: the BX3, BX5, BX6, and BX7. All of the company's vehicles were produced in Foton's factory in Beijing, China.
Borgward was once one of Germany's largest automakers, producing four different car brands at its peak before running into monetary issues in later years. The company never let go of its European heritage, though, as it eventually debuted the BX7 on the continent in 2018. The goal was also to open a new factory in Bremen, Germany, the place where the company was originally founded in 1890 and where the company also recently found its headquarters.
Despite this, the vehicles never really caught on, maxing out at 55,000 vehicles sold worldwide in 2019 and then eventually falling to a minuscule 3,600 in 2021. This saw the company losing $564 million from 2016-2018, a rough loss but not anything insane from a fledgling automaker. Foton then sold a 67% stake in the company to Ucar, a Chinese ride-hailing company, in 2019. This didn't help much, because when the pandemic made production much more difficult for the company, it saw a massive $675 million loss in 2021 alone.
When the company debuted the sleek Borgward Isabella Design Concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, it seemed that it actually had something up its sleeve besides the boring stuff we'd seen so far. Great proportions and innovative doors didn't seem to be enough to attract new investors, unfortunately, so we again must say goodbye to the automaker. At least we can be thankful it wasn't around long enough to devolve into just another Chinese knockoff brand.