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Future models - Borgward - BX7

Frankfurt show: Borgward goes back to the future

Back from the dead: Borgward has bold plans to sell 500,000 car annually, and it is kicking off its assault with the mid-size BX7 SUV.

Long-defunct German brand Borgward rises from ashes in Frankfurt with BX7

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Borgward logo16 Sep 2015

By STUART MARTIN

REBORN German car-maker Borgward has made the next step in its comeback to the automotive world after more than half a century away, with the reveal this week of its SUV debutante.

To be manufactured in China, the re-emerging brand’s BX7 SUV was revealed in the metal at the Frankfurt motor show, as were details about the line-up.

A plug-in electric hybrid version and an up-spec TS luxury version will also be part of the brand’s return to the global automotive market next year, with hopes of selling vehicles to the European region, as well as in China where the cars are set to be built.

The venture, reportedly backed by Chinese commercial vehicle-maker Foton, has lofty goals of selling more than half a million vehicles and expanding the range beyond SUVs.

Borgward CEO Ulrich Walker said the target was to turn the brand – resurrected by Christian Borgward, president of Borgward AG and grandson of founder Carl F. W. Borgward – into a major international automobile manufacturer.

“Our goal for the medium and long term is to be present not only in China and Europe but in all the other major markets as well – and, in particular, in the emerging economies,” he said.

Headquartered in Stuttgart and scheduled to launch vehicles in Germany and the rest of Europe within the next two years, the company – which folded in controversial circumstances in the early 1960s – will also introduce its first vehicles to the Chinese and other emerging markets in the first half of next year.

The product portfolio plan is aiming to grow, with at least two new models presented for market launch every year.

“The Borgward family will be competitive … our business model is based on sound financial and strategic foundations,” Mr Walker said.

The BX7 AWD mid-size SUV measures 4700mm long, 1900mm wide and 1700mm tall, with claimed braked towing capacity of 2500kg tonnes.

The conventional drivetrain model is an on-demand all-wheel drive powered by a 165kW/300Nm 2.0-litre direct-injection turbo four-cylinder with a six-speed auto which will be joined by a plug-in hybrid boasting 295kW and torque of 650 Nm.

The PHEV also claims a 55km all-electric range and fuel consumption of 2.26 litres per 100 kilometres from the direct-injection 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine that is assisted by an electric motor and 13.2kW/h lithium-ion battery.

Borgward said a “unique and intelligent charging management system” allows fast-charging in the vicinity of 30 minutes.

Safety systems are expected to include front, front-side, second-row side and curtain airbags (for the first two rows), collision warning and auto-braking systems with pedestrian detection, active cruise control, driver fatigue, lane departure and blind spot systems, all within a vehicle body using high-strength, ultra high-strength or hot-formed steel.

Designed by in-house Borgward designers in studios in Stuttgart, Beijing and Oslo under the guidance of Borgward executive design adviser Einar Hareide (former design director at Saab), who said the brand is using its heritage as inspiration.

“We don’t use the designs of classic models like the Isabella as a point of reference when we work on new model series,” he said.

“Instead, we use such unique automobiles as a source of inspiration, we decode the original Borgward design DNA, so to speak, and then transplant it into the modern age.” The new Borgward SUV will be offered in five, six or seven-seat layouts, with the six-seater using a second row of captain’s chairs, while the seven seater’s various configurations claims a maximum boot volume of up to 1344 litres (VDA).

The top-spec TS (Touring Sports, a badge that is part of the brand’s history) is also expected to bring with it exterior trim changes for an upmarket look, as well as the Multiple Interaction connectivity system.

It integrates smartphones with the vehicle’s infotainment set-up, with internet access, Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as brand-centric online services and emergency response (in the event of an accident or the SOS button being used) via the 12.3-inch touchscreen.

No plans have yet been announced to include Australia in its global expansion.

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