30 Jul 18

Borgward now available in Germany

German carmaker Borgward is back. Two years after its market introduction in China, the Audi Q5 lookalike BX7 is now available in Germany. Luxemburg will follow soon: megadealer Autodis has been appointed the official distributor for the brand.

Not many know that halfway the previous century, the Bremen-based Borgward was the second largest vehicle manufacturer in Germany. Between 1939 and 1963, the year in which it seized its activities, it had produced over one million cars. In 2008, Christian Borgward, grandson of founder Carl F.W., and his partner Karlheinz L. Knöss persuaded Chinese truck builder Foton to help them revive the brand. It was then that the development of the first new car, the BX7, was started.

In 2015, the final product was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show: a rather good-looking midsized SUV with a premium feel to it, designed in Europe and built by Foton in Beijing. Indeed, the first market for Borgward had to be China, where production is cheap, the potential higher and type approval less fussy. Sales started in July 2016 and two years later, Borgward has produced some 75,000 cars, the equivalent of 0.18 percent of the market.

Online sales, service through ATU

In July 2017, Borgward received the official EU type approval for the BX7. That does not necessary mean that it is at par with its European and Asian competitors in terms of safety – an aspect so blatantly neglected by previous Chinese invaders. Still, the company asked TÜV Rheinland to crash the BX7 frontally into a deformable barrier with a 40 percent overlap, according to EuroNCAP requirements. It passed this particular test, but a full EuroNCAP assessment is yet to be performed.     

Instead of relying on a traditional dealership model, Borgward prefers to sell its cars on the internet.  In Germany servicing will be done by ATU, the vehicle maintenance network belonging to the French Mobivia Group. Similar arrangements are allegedly in the works for other major European markets.

Well-equipped, but thirsty

The BX7 Limited Edition, of which 500 units are available, costs a bit over €37,000 excluding VAT in Germany. For that amount you get a fully equipped 224 PS turbo-charged 2-litre petrol engine with an automatic 6-speed gearbox and all-wheel drive. Connectivity is assured thanks to Apple Car Play, Android Auto, a 4G communication box and a dedicated app.

There are hardly any driver assistance systems, though, and at 212 g/km (8.9 l/100 km) the BX7 is not exactly environmentally progressive. Still, Borgward is developing an electric version of its midsized SUV, the BXi7, which could be built in its native Bremen. Production should start in about a year's time.

Picture copyright: Dieter Quartier (cover), Borgward (interior), 2018

Authored by: Dieter Quartier