When it comes to automobiles, Germany has always been at the top of the game. About a century ago it had Daimler, Auto Union, Maybach, and Horch. Now, it is home to Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW. In a couple of months, however, the country’s automobile industry will grown to include yet another member. Actually, it’s safe to say Germany will regain one of its former producers, as Borgward is set to start building cars again after a 54-year hiatus. The big comeback will take place at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show on March 3rd, where the historic brand plans to showcase something new for the first time in more than five decades.

The marque’s revival has been led by Christian Borgward (the grandson of company founder Carl F.W. Borgward), and business partner Karlheinz L. Knöss. "We began shaping and designing the future of Borgward nearly ten years ago and are now ready for the next step," said Knöss in a statement. Borgward also released a 50-second video, mostly showing archive footage of the brand. Other than a 1950s-looking coupe profile at the end, there’s no indication as to what vehicle the Germans will bring to Geneva. If I were to guess, I’d say a concept car previewing an upcoming compact is the most likely scenario.

Click past the jump to read more about the Borgward’s revival.

Why it matters

Seeing prominent manufacturers rise from their own ashes — even after half a century — is always reason to celebrate, but it remains to be seen whether Borgward will be successful in its attempt. The Bremen-based automaker is not the first and will not the last company to be brought back from the dead, and as history taught us, there’s a thin line between reviving a name and building an actual production car.

While the Bugatti brand was revived with good results in the 1980s, Maybach, for instance, survived for only six years in the modern era. Spyker and Detroit Electric are just two examples of modern revivals that are struggling to survive. Sure, that’s not to say that Borgward doesn’t stand a chance, but it all depends on the strategy behind the now Switzerland-based Borgward AG company and the markets it will choose to compete in. As things stand, we are probably looking at a low-volume manufacturing venture in a somewhat sporty niche.

Brief History

Borgward Will Be Revived In Geneva After 50 Years High Resolution Exterior
- image 615869

Largely forgotten today, Borgward was founded in 1929 in Bremen. It soon took over brands such as Hansa, Goliath and Lloyd, and went on to become one of Germany’s larger automakers in the 1950s. Borgward was best known for the Isabella model, introduced in 1954 and produced until the company went bankrupt in 1961, but the Hansa nameplate (1949-1954) had some success as well. The Isabella, a rear-wheel-drive compact powered by a 1.5-liter, inline-four engine was built in many guises, including two-door saloon, coupe, cabriolet and even a station wagon. Early Isabellas enjoyed an enthusiastic reception, being praised for their spacious cabins and good performance. Sold with a sticker higher than that of competitor sedans from Opel and Ford, but significantly more affordable than the compact Mercedes cars of the era, the Isabella came with features such as a cigarette lighter and clock, both considered premium features in the 1950s.

A larger four-door sedan, dubbed P100, was offered beginning 1959. Powered by a larger, more powerful, 2.2-liter, straight-six engine that generated 100 horsepower, the P100 was aimed at the Mercedes-Benz W111. However, it had very little success against the Stuttgart’s well-established reputation for producing dependable sedans, and Borgward sold less than 3,000 units until it went bankrupt 1961. Borgward also built trucks and remote-control demolition vehicles for the German Army during World War II. Founder Carl Borgward died in 1963, two years after his company was forced into liquidation by creditors.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
About the author

Press Release

Borgward, one of the most innovative brands in car history, returns to the circle of internationally renowned car manufacturers after more than 50 years. On 3rd March 2015, the company will announce its exciting plans for the future and present its new business model to global media at the 85th Geneva International Motorshow.

From 1919 to 1961, the Borgward Group wrote automotive history. As one of Germany’s largest and most successful car manufacturers of its time, Borgward created some of the most iconic cars of the early 20th century as well as a large range of commercial vehicles, trucks, buses, fire engines, boats, electric cars, sports cars and even helicopters. Innovation and bold ideas were always at the heart of the Bremen based company steered by the visionary entrepreneur Carl F.W. Borgward who continuously pioneered technical novelties that set new standards in the industry. The 1949 Borgward Hansa 1500 was the first German sedan with an aerodynamic pontoon body, the precursor of modern automotive styling. The Borgward Isabella TS of 1955 was the first road car combining the comfort of a family limousine with the agility and performance of a sports car. The Borgward P100 of 1959 was the first German passenger car featuring a revolutionary self-leveling air suspension. From 1950 to 1958 Borgward was also active in international motorsport. With the Borgward Hansa 1500 the team successfully competed in various racing series such as the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans, 1,000km of Nurburgring, Carrera Panamericana and the race of Montlhéry were it broke 12 records overall.

Thirty years of innovative design, a production of more than one million vehicles retailed worldwide combined with the success of such automotive icons as the famous Isabella have driven Christian Borgward, grandson of Carl F.W. Borgward and President of Borgward AG, to plan the revival of the legendary brand. "Relaunching Borgward is a childhood dream come true for me", says Borgward, inspired by the unique heritage of his grandfather’s legacy. Together with his partner Karlheinz L. Knöss and a team of highly skilled experts all over the world, Borgward has been working over a decade on the rebirth of the brand and his vision of turning it into a modern, profitable and world-class global car company again. "We began shaping and designing the future of Borgward nearly ten years ago and are now ready for the next step. Incorporating the values and cutting-edge technologies that Borgward stood for, combined with our ambition, drive and commitment to succeed, I believe we are now perfectly placed to open up this new chapter in Borgward’s history", says Knöss. "Geneva is an important step into our promising future and we cannot wait to be back there".

The Salon de l’Automobile de Genève – one of the most prestigious car shows of the year – is the place where the Borgward Hansa 1500 was unveiled in 1949 as the very first automobile construction after the war. Fans of the legendary Hanseatic brand can now re-experience the unique spirit of Borgward and its fascinating history ahead of the motorshow: a short video commemorating the brand’s heritage is available to view and embed at www.borgward.com.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: