Accessible premium choice

2017-07-19 06:03
The BX6 and BX5 Borgward.PHOTO: supplied

The BX6 and BX5 Borgward.PHOTO: supplied

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Borgward: Ahead of its time, people said. Luxurious, technically advanced and innovative, fans agreed. Its cars appealed to people’s tastes. German buyers were hungry for American-inspired styling, plenty of chrome and modern conveniences.

Borgward gave them that but the company was forced into premature bankruptcy in 1961.

Triggers apparently included nervous creditors fuelled by an antagonistic press and, some say, exclusionary business practices by certain suppliers and competitors.

What is accepted is that Borgward was a somewhat pricey niche brand. It never enjoyed decent economies of scale and there was too much duplication of resources between its four brands: Borgward, Goliath, Hansa and Lloyd.

Founder Carl F.W. Borgward died, aged 72, of a heart attack in 1963.

The brand has a fairly strong following in South Africa and, according to local old-car guy Fred Rascher, owners put on a 50-strong display at the recent George Old Car Show.

But the phoenix is rising. The founder’s grandson, Christian Borgward, and business partner Karlheinz Knöss, revived the company in 2008 with financial and manufacturing support from Chinese truck maker Foton.

The new Borgward range consists of three SUVs — BX5, BX6 and BX7. Size follows numbering. European and later world models, will all be plug-in hybrids with full-time all-wheel drive configured like Volvo’s XC90 T8 — a petrol engine driving the front wheels and electric powering the rears. The biggest, the BX7 model, went on sale in China in July 2016, with a supercharged 2.0-litre petrol motor developing 140 kW. BX5 with the same power plant followed in March 2017.

All-wheel drive is optional but modern safety systems and conveniences are given. The catch phrase is Accessible Premium Choice. Distribution agreements were signed recently in the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain.

We asked the company’s press office whether there are plans for SA, but we’re still waiting. Future plans include a 140 000 square metre CKD- and SKD factory to be built in Bremen, the company’s original town, in 2018.

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